The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is stressful even in the best of times. You’ve got to buy your presents, wrap them, make sure they get to the right recipient (and that’s assuming you aren’t making any). There’s Christmas Cards to send out (oh why did I start doing that?), decorations to put up, and neighbors to compete against to see who can spend the most on their electricity bills. One could argue that this is all another sign of the commercialization of the holidays, but I would argue that it’s because we want to make the ones we love happy that we pile so much on ourselves.
This is, of course, on top of your normal work, family, and household obligations. And the fact that you want to spend as much time as possible with your friends and family.
With everything as crazy as it is, it can be a pain to fit in your normal writing. Here are a couple of tips for trying to fit it in.
1. Use it to destress.
Let’s say you’ve spent the last three hours wrapping presents and writing cards. It’s very tempting to leave the mess for the cat to play with and go veg in front of the television watching Unsolved Mysteries. Resist this urge, and why not sit down and work on a story instead? It’ll clear your mind and when you look back at your day, you’ll feel productive instead of like a lazy lump.
2. Get away from it all.
Your children are belting “Grandma got run-over by a reindeer” at the top of their lungs and your husband has abandoned his half-done job of hanging the lights over the garage to watch the football game. Do not lock yourself in the bathroom and cry. Instead, stand in front of your husband until he acknowledges your presence and tell him it’s on his head if anything gets destroyed while you’re gone, and leave. Go to a coffee shop, the library, a friend’s…wherever you like to write that’s not at home.
3. Remember that people will not hate you if it doesn’t all get done.
If a couple of your cards go out a few days late, guess what? No one’s really going to care. They’re just glad to hear from you. If half the ornaments don’t get on the tree, Santa won’t mind. If the dog eats your fruitcake, well, it’s probably for the best. Remember that it’s much easier to maintain a writing habit than to try to restart one come January when the tree goes to the grinder. So set aside a little time each day to get things done. It’s okay. No one will hate you. (Give them bubble wrap to distract them while you make your escape.)
Good luck to you, Squiders!