December Challenge: 5 Ways to Keep Your Writing Momentum During the Busiest Time of Year

janav Uncategorized Leave a Comment

If you’re like me, you find this time of year particularly challenging in terms of keeping up with your creative goals and intentions. Looking at my schedule, I have events almost every night. And that’s not including the shopping, wrapping, baking, card writing, and all the other stuff that is fun but cuts down considerably on time normally spent writing or doing other creative pursuits. When I do get a few minutes to sit down and write, I am tired. And it takes longer to get going because my mind is filled with all the other things on the “to do” list. It’s hard to keep my mind on what my characters are doing when it’s more focused on whether I should bake Speculaas or Red Velvet Cupcakes for the next party I’m attending.

So, what can we do in the face of all the holiday madness?

Set Tiny Goals! Realize that there is, in fact, a lot going on right now, and it’s stuff you’re not going to want to miss. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up doing anything toward your creative goals! Maybe instead of 1,000 words a day, you write 500. Or instead of 5 days per week, you make it 3. The important thing is not to quit completely, or it will be hard to get going again after the new year.

Write Your Goals Down! Don’t just tell yourself “I’ll write tomorrow.” What will you do, exactly? At the beginning of each week, I create a table where I list all my main areas of focus for that week, and then for each day I put in what I plan to accomplish. Today it was “write blog post” (yaay me!). You can use a calendar, a vision board, an app, a notebook… whatever is easiest to use and most importantly, see on a daily basis.

Plan Ahead! Look realistically at the time you have, and write down when you will do what. Don’t assume you’ll “feel like it” when you have a moment. Deciding ahead of time that you’ll write at a specific time on a specific day makes it much more likely that you will actually do it.

Get Creative! Keeping your project fresh in your mind is important. It keeps momentum going, and allows your unconscious to keep working on it even when you can’t put in a big chunk of writing time. A 15-minute daily practice of doing something is better than nothing. Try journaling in your protagonist’s voice every day for a week. Mind-map the next scene. Write the words “what if…” on a piece of paper and let your mind (and pen) run free with your characters and situations. Remember to have fun with your writing and not just view it as another chore to be checked off your list!

Relax! Above all, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t making as much progress as you thought you should. Allowing yourself a little slack now can leave you eager to get going again when the holidays are over, rather than feeling so burned out you can’t even face the page. Use this time to “fill the well” through being creative in other ways – choosing and wrapping gifts, cooking and baking, singing, etc. Enjoy all the things that only come around this time of year, without guilt for what you’re not accomplishing.

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