Write Your Novel and Enjoy the Holidays Too! Part II

By Julie Tyler

If we want to write during the holidays, we have to set specific goals, plan ahead, and squeeze productivity into tiny slivers of time. Before Thanksgiving, I offered readers a few tips for writing during the holidays without sacrificing meaningful experiences with family and friends.

In a previous post on writing during the holidays, I promised to reach out again in December with a few more tips to keep us writing all the way to 2017 and beyond.

Here they are:

#1 –> Does your holiday travel include visiting different parts of the world?

Train your eyes to notice the physical details of the place and your fingers to type (or scribble down) sentences that describe the details concretely and succinctly. While your novel’s setting may seem generic in the early draft phase, this exercise will help you fix that. Your fictional setting will:

  • Be as important as characters.
  • Influence the plot.
  • Create a unique experience for readers.

#2 –> Rehashing family inside jokes or watching old home movies?

Consider using these moments to help you develop the interior life of your character. Memories are forces that drive us forward as well as hold us back. This can be true for your protagonists. In addition, quirky interactions between your novel’s characters, much like the ones your family experiences, can add comic relief to a plot full of drama and tragedy.

Writing in 2017

Once the holiday season passes, 2017 will promise all sorts of new possibilities (and challenges) for your writing life. We writers can always use some fresh strategies for optimizing our time on any given day. Here are some tips for the new year:

#1 –> Stuck in gridlocked, rush-hour traffic?

Get out your phone and talk out some ideas into your audio recorder. Later you can play back your recording and type everything up.

#2 — Riding a long commute on public transportation?

Don’t just sit there. Do some line edits on a printed draft, scribble new ideas in a small notepad, read novel-related articles (like the ones we offer on From Nothing to Novel!) on your phone, or conduct historical research through your library’s database.

#3 –> Got a lunch break all to yourself?

Skip the visit to the corner deli and use the whole hour to work on your novel. Plan ahead by bringing your lunch and fulfilling your work duties like a bad-A$$ boss during the morning and afternoon.

#4 –> Inspired during inopportune moments?

If you’re like me and get your best ideas during a jog or as you lay your head down to sleep, you should ALWAYS, ALWAYS have something on hand to jot them down.

More times than I can count, I’ve trusted memory to preserve ideas until I get home from the jog or until I wake up in the morning. In every instance, memory lets me down and I’m all like, ‘What the heck was I even …? Gah!’

Don’t let this be you. If you have to, stop in the middle of your workout, pull up the Notes application on your phone, and key in your flashes of genius. Keep a notebook and pen beside your bed and scribble something down before you start snoring. Never trust memory with your ideas.

Happy Holidays!

The time has come for From Nothing to Novel to sign off until 2017. We’ll be busy with family, friends, dozens of holiday traditions, and writing, of course. However you spend the holidays, we hope they bring you to the new year with fresh pages full of characters and scenes and a year’s worth of inspiration!


Photo credit:

Homini:) <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/38434991@N08/16165897938″>1970’s Christmas</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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