If we want to write during the holidays, we have to set specific goals, plan ahead, and squeeze productivity into tiny slivers of time. In Part I of this series, I offered tips for writing during the holidays without sacrificing meaningful experiences with family and friends. Today, I offer some quick tips to get you all the way to 2018!
#1 – Use holiday settings to enhance your novel
Whether you’re traveling or staying put, train your eyes to notice the physical details of your surroundings. Then, train your typing, scribbling fingers to describe the details concretely. This exercise will will help you fix any lackluster settings that may be bogging down your novel. Remember, you setting should:
Influence characters. Bear directly on plot. Create a unique experience for readers.
#2 – Rehash family inside jokes and watch old home movies
Use these moments to help you develop the interior life of your novel’s characters. 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.
#3 – Psych yourself up to write in 2018
Once the holiday season passes, 2018 promises all sorts of new possibilities and challenges for your writing life. Rather than falling back into old patterns, attack the New Year with strategies to maximize your day:
- Stuck in gridlocked, rush-hour traffic? Don’t sit there huffing and puffing. Get out your phone and speak your writing ideas into the audio recorder.
- Riding a long commute on public transportation? Don’t zone out. Do some line edits on a printed draft, scribble new ideas in a small notepad, read novel-related articles on your phone, or conduct historical research through your library’s database.
- 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.
- Receive a visit from the muse 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 for “when I get back to my desk.” 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.
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! As always, reach out to us with updates on your writing life!
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