Balancing Writing During the Holidays

25 Nov

Most writers aren’t able to write full time. That means we tend to work full time and write full time. Between writing, querying, editing, and marketing, our schedules can quickly feel crushing, especially if you’re working toward a very specific goal, such as a revision deadline. Taking breaks can often make writers feel guilty. But you deserve a break, too. Especially during the holidays.

Grab a cocoa, some cookies, and watch the snow fall.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a workaholic. My life is often, if not always, out of balance. I don’t make enough time for family or friends (or myself) and, though I know I should, I really struggle to find time in my jam-packed calendar full of work, publishing, writing goals, and personal goals. But that’s also why I get burnt out so often. (Okay. So maybe this year was just awful.) Anyway…

I’m trying to be more mindful going into the holiday season. You know, taking more time to sit back and relax, so that when I sit down to write I feel energized and passionate, rather than bogged down by crippling responsibility.

I try to look at it this way: I can’t write dialogue if I’ve never participated in a conversation. Without regular reminders of life, it is more difficult to describe it—to connect with it—and it’s important to be realistic in stories. (It’s also important that we, as people, have interaction with others.)

My personal holiday notes?

  • Don’t let your goals take over your life.
  • Some sacrifice is okay, but don’t sacrifice everything all the time.
  • Enjoy the holidays.

If you are trying to keep up with everything during the holidays, my writing tips are about the same as they are throughout the year: Set aside time to write and stick with it. Always have a notebook on hand. (I use the SimpleNote app, so I never forget it, and I can transfer notes directly to my Scrivener on my laptop.) Set specific goals (Ex. I will write or edit 10,000 words every week), but don’t beat yourself up too much if you don’t accomplish every goal you set. Adjust and keep writing. Rest well and dream often. Oh, and reward yourself with holiday cookies.

If you notice I’m not online as much this holiday season, it’s because I’m trying to be more present in my life. (I even got my first Christmas tree!) I have my blog articles planned for December, but they’ll mostly be fun, light-hearted pieces, along with my regular end-of-the-year posts (like my favorite books of the year and where I think trends are heading). I’m hoping I can get back into the swing of things in 2018, but I’m more focused on having more balance in my life, because I let my life get way too out-of-balance this year.

Balance is important, not only during the holiday season, but also during the rest of the year.

Take care of each other.

Happy Holidays,


21 Responses to “Balancing Writing During the Holidays”

  1. Charles Yallowitz November 25, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    Reblogged this on Legends of Windemere.

    • Shannon A Thompson November 25, 2017 at 1:29 am #

      Thank you for sharing, Charles! I hope all is well.

      • Charles Yallowitz November 25, 2017 at 6:05 am #

        You’re welcome. Hope you had a fun Thanksgiving. Things have been interesting here for the last month.

      • Shannon A Thompson November 25, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

        I hope it’s been positive interesting things! 😀

      • Charles Yallowitz November 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

        Sadly no. My wife broke her arm 3 weeks ago. I’ve been driving her to and from work while holding down all of the house and kid stuff. Very little time for writing until she heals.

      • Shannon A Thompson November 25, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

        Oh, no! I’m so sorry to hear that. Best wishes for her speedy recovery (and more writing time). ❤

      • Charles Yallowitz November 25, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

        Thanks. On the plus side, I’ve only got outlining to do. Last book of my series goes live sometime next month, so it makes no sense to tackle a new project.

      • Shannon A Thompson November 25, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

        That is awesome news! Finishing a series is always a bittersweet excitement (and a great accomplishment)! Congrats!

      • Charles Yallowitz November 25, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

        Bittersweet is the word I keep coming back to. Good luck with your projects b

      • Shannon A Thompson November 25, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

        Thank you!

  2. Kim November 25, 2017 at 5:07 am #

    I definitely agree that balance is important! I’ve recently discovered how to balance my life and I’ve honestly never been happier. Good luck with your balancing!! And I hope you enjoy your holidays 🙂

    • Shannon A Thompson November 25, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

      I’ve only recently taken more steps to have more balance, but I hope it helps! Thanks for sharing your story. Gives me hope I can get my life more in balance soon. 🙂

  3. depatridge November 25, 2017 at 9:42 am #

    Reblogged this on Matthews' Blog.

  4. Don Massenzio November 25, 2017 at 9:56 am #

    Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out these tips from this post on Shannon A. Thompson’s blog on balancing writing during the holidays.

  5. The Animation Commendation November 26, 2017 at 9:15 am #

    Yeah, we all need the detox time.

  6. wendyunsworth November 30, 2017 at 7:17 am #

    Wise words – we all need a restful holiday – never easy to achieve but very good to try!

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