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When Holidays Eat Your Writing Time

Image: Luis Llerena
Let me be clear: December is an excellent month. It's full of sparkly things and twinkly lights and mince pies and candles and presents waiting to be unwrapped and excited kids and family time and the smell of pine needles, and all the rest. (And if you live in Auckland, it's even full of sunshine. WIN.)

However, it's not a particularly great month for writers. In fact, I would go so far as to say it's kind of an assholish month for writers, particularly if we're going with the definition of writer meaning "person who writes on a regular basis". There are all those deadlines, all those presents waiting to be bought or made, all those terrifying hellholes shopping malls to wade through, all those craft projects to finish*, all those things to bake, all those wonderful family members you happily neglect for most of the year who suddenly require you to spend vast amounts of time with them. It can be difficult to fit writing in around all of December's demands, because in all honesty, December doesn't really want you to write. December wants you to buy things and eat things. December wants you to spend time with people you love. December wants you to give and receive gifts.

So, in the spirit of December, I think you should give yourself a gift. Don't worry. It's not the kind of gift which hurts your credit card, or the kind which requires you to spend four hours gluing tiny snowflakes onto hats for hand-knitted teddy bears, or anything like that. It doesn't even require that you drop everything you’re doing right now.

Spend a few moments daydreaming.

Daydream about the project you're working on at the moment, about the characters you love most, about the places they spend their time and the things they struggle with, about the kissing scenes and the fight scenes and the revelations. Turn your story into a movie reel inside your head and linger on all your favorite shots. If you have a few minutes to spare, listen to a song you associate with your story, or look at an inspiring image. There might not be time to sit down and write today, but there's always time to connect with your story, and staying connected keeps things alive when everything and everyone in the world seems to be conspiring to keep you from writing.

And if those endless angst-ridden thoughts start lining up in your head about how this is not enough because you should be writing all the words or fixing all the broken scenes or planning all the plots, tell those thoughts to stop. Stories are born from daydreams, and stories stay alive through daydreams too, especially during busy times. Write as much as you can in the time that you have, but don't beat yourself up when there aren't enough hours in the day.

Just daydream. And enjoy your holidays.



*If you are someone who finishes craft projects, that is. I am someone who starts craft projects.

Leila Austin

Leila lives in Middle Earth, also known as New Zealand, and writes YA fantasy.

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4 comments:

  1. Daydreaming is one of my favorite parts of writing. I can't believe I get paid for that. :)

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  2. I walked on the beach Thursday and daydreamed. The best part of a busy week.

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  3. I'm trying to give myself daydreaming time in between studying for finals! It's taking a toll on me!

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  4. Thank you so much for this great reminder! I told myself I could take it easy in December, but haven't quite adjusted down my own expectations. :) Love the daydreaming option instead.

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Item Reviewed: When Holidays Eat Your Writing Time Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Leila Austin