Monday, 11 December 2017

Writing Around The Holidays - The Creative Process


WRITING AROUND THE HOLIDAYS

So if you're like me, you'll be planning to continue writing during your down time. That includes during a holiday period. I don't just mean the big ones like Christmas, but all those weeks the kids spend off school as well. Because if, like me, you have a teenager running around in the background, life gets stressful when you're home working and they're around too. But for now I'll focus on the other parts of writing around holidays. And I'll try and give you some tips on how I manage.

Christmas for me has always been the time to see my family. As you all know, I use sticky notes to denote what I'm doing when and all of that. I have a colour coded system that allows me to tell at a glance what days are for what. Right now I have three white sticky notes. One is for a medical reason, the other two are Christmas and Boxing Day, which is when I plan to go and see my dad and step-mum for our Christmas get-together. My issue is that I also plan to try and get vlogs recorded, blogs written and some actual book writing too, since that's my job after all. So here are my five tips for getting work done during one of the most stressful times of year.

#1. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
No one can work every single day without a break ever and not have problems. You need to make sure that you take time to just have some moments to yourself when you're not being asked to do something, or feeling pressured to write. If you plan like I do, then you'll probably have some days off, right? If not, be aware that even if you really really really want to get that thing done by the end of the month, it is supposed to be fun, and you will want to spend some time with your family. So be kind to yourself and even if it's just slotting some time to watch a movie or take a nap, do it!

#2. SLEEP ISN'T OPTIONAL
I know, I know, insomnia sucks, but even if you find yourself at a loss of how to spend any of your awake time writing, you still need to sleep. That goes for writers who work through the night and then try to attack the day without any. The world will not end if you take a nap. And it helps you stay on top of things and be more creative when you have time to do so. It goes with my first post about being kind to yourself. Self care can be any number of ways, and sleeping can be one of them. Writers deserve that too!

#3. MANAGE YOUR TIME
Whether that's my adopting a schedule or just setting aside a certain time every day that you will spend writing, do whatever works for you. Like I said, I use sticky notes and I've found enormous leaps in my productivity. I spend more time writing and less time wondering what I should be doing. It's changed my working life completely. And I was organised before, I just never really went this deep into the rabbit hole. Now I'm there, I can't even think about changing how I'd do it. I feel lost without my plan of attack.

#4. IT'S OKAY TO GET STRESSED
Everyone gets stressed at times, no one is immune to it. At this time of year, even more so because there's presents to buy, things to wrap, gatherings to attend. All of that is stressful, when you add it trying to write, it's no surprise that some people lose it for a second or two. I know I've struggled in the past with the same thing. Everything is going on and none of it is an easy fix. So if you do get stressed, don't be too hard on yourself about it. Take a breath and take a moment and then get on with what you're doing.

#5. MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
This is a big one for me. I know that I set sometimes unreasonable goals for myself. Other times I set them too low, but for the purpose of this piece, I'll stick with the unreasonable ones. If you've told yourself that you're going to finish this book by the end of the year and you're only just starting, think carefully about it. There are some people who can write a whole book in a month or less and my hat goes off to them. For me it takes between four to five months. If it's something you've never done before, don't set yourself up to fail no matter how tempting it may be. Manage your expectations by knowing what you can achieve in that time rather than go nuts and then feel like a failure.

So those are my five tips on writing around the holidays. Do you have any tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

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