Did you know that the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) started in July of 1999, but then was quickly moved to November because of ‘miserable weather?’ This author respectfully suggests none of these people had small children or large family gatherings they were responsible for. Because how is November, the dawn of the holidays, a good choice for a 50,000-words-in-one-month spree?
Finding time to write during the full holiday season has always been a challenge for me. From navigating time between cookie decorating and gift shopping to just finding the brain space to think past the Christmas carols, it’s quite a feat to get a few paragraphs in every day. Forget actually writing an entire novel for NaNoWriMo.
I actually planned to do it this year. I had a 20,000-word middle-grade novel I planned to do. Here I am on day 25, and I have 12,000 words done. Which I actually think is quite spectacular, considering the firestorm that was this month.
Here are some ways I’ve found to cope with writing during the holidays:
- Cut down your word count to a realistic goal. If you know your holidays take chunks of writing time, don’t push yourself to hard. Cut your word counts by a third, or even half, at the beginning of the time period. That way you won’t be setting yourself up for disappointment, but you’ll still get work done amid the hustle and bustle.
- Give yourself some grace. If you have stress from family situations or kids or finances or whatever, give yourself a few extra ‘me’ moments. Don’t stay up too late to hit goals night after night—you’ll just be grouchy. And when mama ain’t happy during the holidays, everyone else is miserable too. No amount of eggnog is going to fix that (in a positive way, at least)!
- Ask for help. Find a few extra fun events happening around town and ask your spouse or a relative to take the kids. Or see if they can go out to look at lights while you feverishly type for a little while. It’s not like you only go see the lights once, right?
- Plan next year so you can take a month off. Set aside a budget for advertising, and book all your promotions ahead of time. Then you can sit back, watch the sales roll in, and snuggle up with hot cocoa and that cringy Christmas comedy Uncle Joe loves so much.
- Take advantage of free services. Always ask if there’s free gift wrapping at the store. Get a membership with Amazon Prime and order your holiday gifts with free two-day shipping instead of having to wrap and ship them yourself. Order free grocery curbside pick-up and save all that time walking around the store and fighting the crowds.
- Give yourself pockets of time to just enjoy the season. Because let’s face it, we only have eighteen (maybe) years for our kids to be kids during Christmas. Sit under the tree, cuddle those kids in their pajamas, and know there will be more time to write… in January.