With Christmas coming up, it’s easy to lose your writing momentum as you lose yourself in the holiday festivities. Unfortunately, once you lose momentum, can be even harder to get back into the habit of writing than it was to get started.
So, here are some tips to ensure you don’t lose momentum this holiday season:
Many writers commit to writing a regular number of words per day, like in NaNoWriMo, where every writer has a goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days (or 1,667 words a day).
While you don’t need to keep up the same writing pace as in your pre-holiday routine, committing to achieving something every day is a great way to keep things chugging along. Not only will your word count keep climbing, but your book will remain front-of-mind, which means you’re more likely to think of new ideas in the shower, wake up having resolved structural issues, and get off to a good start in the New Year.
Whether you commit to writing 500 words a day, or just 15 minutes a day, pick an amount that’s enough for you to feel a sense of accomplishment, but not enough for it to feel like too much effort to get started.
Have a regular writing schedule.
If you have a regular writing time outside the holiday season, establish a regular writing time during the holiday season too. If you have a regular writing time you’re more likely to get your words done. By contrast, if you just wait until you find the time, it will suddenly be 2am and you have no energy left to write.
Choose a time that won’t interrupt the festivities. I’d recommend in the morning, so you don’t need to worry about guests staying back, irritable children, or being too drunk to hit the right keys (but who knows – perhaps a little holiday cheer will bring out your creative genius?).
Carry a notepad with you at all times.
Or you can carry your phone. What can I say? I’m old fashioned.
Either way, make sure you can write notes if inspiration strikes. They don’t need to be detailed – just jot down a couple of points that will jog your memory the next time you sit down to write. (Believe me, there’s nothing more irritating than having a brilliant idea, and not remembering it once you have the time to write.)
Make yourself accountable.
The right writing buddy can be a great motivator – someone with whom you can swap ideas, brainstorm, compete on word counts . . .
Commit to writing a certain amount (or for a certain amount of time) over the Christmas period, and make a time to meet with them between Christmas and New Year’s, and then once again after New Year’s Day. Be prepared to reveal your word count.
The best way to stay accountable is to keep the stakes high, so how can you raise the stakes? Is there something humiliating you can agree to do if you don’t hit your word count? Can you give someone you hate a large cheque? Can you give your writing buddy a large cheque?
When in doubt, plan.
If you’re struggling to write, plan. Refer to last week’s post 5 steps to plan your book for planning ideas.
The main thing to remember is that the more you plan, the less you’ll have to write, and that means you’ll have plenty to work with come the New Year.