It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for me to moralize and humblebrag! Or talk about the shit that gets in the way of writing, and how I manage to get it done anyway. Or not. It happens.
I’ve already talked about holidays away from work and how they can interfere with your routine, but as we’re approaching the Mecha-Godzilla of the end of the year’s holiday season, I thought I’d revisit the topic with a greater emphasis on carving out that time to write while still having time to carve that stupid turkey.
Starting with the third or fourth week of November, most people are gearing up for the holidays. Family and friends are coming into town to visit and eat all your food, stink up your couch with post-gravy gas while a football game plays. You might be that family or friend to someone else. Kids come home from college. Maybe you travel out of state or country.
Holiday sales are coming up. Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Hannukah, the Winter Solstice, New Year’s Eve, and more. Those are social and religious expectations and managing the slew of end-of-the-year parties and engagements is a daunting task indeed.
During all this you’re expected to keep on working for the vast majority. If you’re lucky you take excess vacation days. If you’re fortunate you have a couple of days your company gives you for the holidays.
But even with that, you will likely find yourself super swamped with additional activities and it is the easiest thing in the world to look at all the hundred thousand things on your list you need to do and see “write some shit” as the first “not-gonna-happen” strikethrough of many.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. It isn’t anyone else’s fault if you don’t get your writing done. It’s not even necessarily your fault. It probably is, but it doesn’t have to be.
Hobbies and creative passions are secondary to life’s bigger questions and problems. If you have a big family, maybe Thanksgiving is an 18-hour day of cooking, visiting, eating, pictures, board games, cooking, more eating, still more eating. How are you supposed to fit in time to get your piddly little hobby out of the way?
You have to fight for that time. If you have a goal, holidays have to be taken into account. Maybe you don’t write every single day like I do, maybe you have a weekly goal. You can plan ahead and frontload your weekly writing goals. You can set aside a day to play catchup. You can wake up early, snort some caffeine, and get the words done before even your earliest-rising relative gets out of bed.
You have options, and it’s up to you to exercise those options to achieve your goals.
And if at the end of the day, or the holiday season, you’ve slipped a little? It’s not the end of the world so long as you get back on the horse and start riding again. It’s a great feeling to know you’ve managed to do all that holiday gabbing and gobbling and gift-giving and seasons’ greetings AND still managed to get some writing done.
But you know what? It’s also a great feeling just spending time with your loved ones, sharing in the warmth of family and friends during the chilly winter months, laughing and loving and have a wonderful time.
So keep your priorities in order, have some egg nog, and always remember to write the hell on.