Don’t let the holidays keep you from writing

Happy day after Thanksgiving! The holidays are upon us. Christmas is less than a month away. New Year’s is the week after that. Hanukkah is happening right now. It’s getting hard to concentrate on writing, isn’t it? Other things are pulling your attention away. Got to buy gifts, send cards, decorate the house, plan and attend holiday events. Maybe you’re traveling. You’re tempted to set your writing aside until the holidays are over in about five weeks. Don’t.

Writing is a lot like an athletic activity or like playing music. If you don’t do it for a while, your muscles get stiff and your skills take a dive. It will take you at least another month to get back to where you were before. If you’re writing a long project, such as a novel or a nonfiction book, you need to keep your mind in it or you’ll forget and have to start over. Trust me, I’ve been there. If you’re submitting articles, a gap in activity will cause a gap in assignments and pay later.

I know how harried the holiday season can be. I’m worried about the Christmas presents I haven’t purchased, and I’m leaving for San Francisco on Monday, and the end of the year is coming and . . .

But I’m a writer and writers write. If you’re a self-employed writer, you do not get vacations or holiday pay. It may not be possible to work full-out the way you might in an ordinary month like September, but don’t quit altogether. No matter what’s going on, you can find at least an hour a day to work on your writing projects. Freewrite, gather ideas, do research, write queries, add a page a day to your work in progress. Adjust, but don’t give up.

I plan to keep at it. Promise me you will, too.

Now go write.