The holidays aren’t always an easy time for creatives. This season is busy, busy, busy. There are gifts to buy, parties to attend, cookies to eat. For me, it’s not easy to find time to write, and that can mean spiralling into guilt about not being able to hit my daily word count or the completely unrealistic goals I have set for myself. With the approach of December 31st, that New Year’s writing resolution from the start of the year is raining down some mighty pressure.
But the holidays are supposed to be fun, a time of rest, friends, family, and good food. There’s no space amongst all that for guilt. So, here are some tips and tricks for how to stay on track creatively during the holidays. Here at T&F, we think it’s important to take breaks, so not all of this tips will be about hitting your word count goal or putting that pen to paper, but they will hopefully all give you some guidance for how to stay creative during the holidays.
Set realistic goals
I know, I know. The concept of actually setting realistic goals is shocking, right? But it’s important to know what you are capable of, especially at this time of year. Everyone’s holiday plans are different. Some people go home for a few days or weeks and are surrounded by thousands of well-wishing-but-nosy aunts and uncles and screaming cousins. Others hunker down where they are with a bowl of holiday popcorn by their side (this recipe is A+++). Whatever this season looks like for you, make a plan for what you can realistically achieve between all those holiday parties and cheese boards. By setting manageable goals, you’ll be far more likely to sit down and try to accomplish them. Finished earlier than expected? Great! Now go grab a glass of eggnog and watch that holiday movie, or keep your fingers on the keyboard and ride that motivation through until the end of your scheduled writing time.
Wake up early…or at your normal time at least
Finding it difficult to get some quiet time away to write? Use the guise of the holidays to your advantage. People usually sleep in, so nobody should be expecting you up at the crack of dawn. While the coziness of your blankets is awfully tempting, try grabbing your laptop or notebook for a few mornings and use your sleep in time to get some words out instead. But hey, if you need to hit that snooze button occasionally, that’s okay too. Remember that you are resting up now so that you can be creative and disciplined for the coming year.
Refill your creative well
The holiday season is a great time to fuel yourself up with enough sugar and turkey to last all year, but it’s also perfect for topping off that creative inspiration. When else can you laze around without judgement, eat barrel after barrel of popcorn, and watch so many episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine that Netflix has to send a message checking that you’re still alive?
But seriously, we’ve shared about how movie nights and consuming stories in all their forms can help spark your creative energy. So over the holidays, don’t shy away from those movie marathons and video game binges. Curl up next to the fire (or pool if you live in one of those places that celebrate the holidays under the blazing sun) and crack open that new book you found under the tree. Open up your mind to take in different types of narrative. Keep an eye out for character traits you like or a setting detail that would work perfectly in your opening scene. You never know where inspiration will strike, so go ahead, watch A Christmas Prince again (and don’t forget about the sequel)! Taking a break now to fill up your creative well will make your stories that much richer in the new year.
Exercise your storytelling muscle in other ways
Writing is not the only way to tell stories. Sometimes we need to break out of our regular format to stretch our creativity in different ways. Try something new this holiday season. Read bedtime stories to your baby cousins. Gather your family around and play a game of Once Upon a Time or, if you’re feeling really frustrated and need to get some misery out, Gloom. Stretching your imagination and creativity in a new way might even help you with a story breakthrough when you return to your keyboard or pen and paper.
Do you have any tips for staying on track with your writing over the holidays? Reach out on social media or comment below and share your wisdom! Whatever you’re celebrating (or even if you’re celebrating at all), we wish you all a warm and happy holidays from us here at Toffee & Fudge!
Extra Goodies For Your Consumption:
- 4 Holiday Activities That Are Scientifically Proven To Inspire Creativity, Rohini Venkatraman, Inc
- 8 Ways To Sneak Writing Time During The Holiday Season, Joanna Novak, Bustle