It’s only just past the first week of December and already the Seasonal Madness is upon us. Parties fill the nights. Gift-wrapping, baking, and fielding endless calls from family about how you’re not coming home again this year, do you not love us, seriously, you’re breaking your mother’s heart fill the days. Even if you stolidly ignore the holidays every year, you still get caught up in it, because everywhere you go, it’s right in your face.
Do not take this to mean that I do not like the holidays. I love this time of year. But let’s face it: it comes with a price.
For example, with two parties down and another still on the horizon, my house looks like Christmas threw up in here. There are still empty glasses on some of the flat surfaces from Saturday night. The cats keep dragging shreds of wrapping paper from under the couch.
But, instead of cleaning up, I’m sitting down at my desk to write. Because I am a writer, god damn it. Even when I’m busy.
So, in the spirit of the season, I bring you the Holiday Writing Challenge:
This holiday season, in the midst of all the parties and the shopping and the businesses with weird closing hours…make some time to write.
I know, I know: you’re already stretched to your limits and here I am asking you to do something else. What a fucking asshole, right? Santa’s going to bring me nothing but coal and flaming paper bags full of dog crap.*
But here’s the thing: if you don’t make the time, it’s going to be damn hard to come back to it in January.
Besides, making some time for something you love will help you keep your cool during the insanity that is the holiday season. Whether you celebrate or not, there’s no denying the sheer amount of bat-crap crazy that descends from the winter sky like poison snow. I love the holidays, but people are fucking nuts. Give yourself some mental space by losing yourself in your story for an hour and you might make it to January without bashing someone over the head with a plastic Nativity scene.
Also, all that start over BS for the New Year is a waste. If you’re going to start over, then why wait? If it’s something you really want, then why not do it on December the 22nd? Then not only do you get a head start on all the other people who will no doubt be bombarding your Facebook with their pledges to finally finish that damn novel, you can celebrate by gorging yourself on half-eaten boxes of chocolates on Boxing Day. Win-win.
I’m not saying to skip all the parties or to lock yourself in your house with nothing but shelf-stable eggnog and fruitcake so you can write. But carve out half an hour or an hour here and there. Have one less drink at the party so you can get up earlier the next morning. Skip It’s A Wonderful Life** because you’ve already seen it a thousand goddamn times and work on the next chapter. Find a little time for yourself, and for your story.
And if you want to pour a little Christmas cheer into your coffee while you do it, well, I won’t tell anyone.
*Santa is apparently in junior high for the purposes of this sentence.
**I hate this movie, so it’s no difficulty for me. Harder would be skipping a Christmas screening of Die Hard.