Typically speaking, the holidays aren’t a great time for me to write. But today I’m sharing how to feel inspired to write during the holidays because I’ve got a novel to finish!

How to Feel Inspired to Write During the Holidays | It's the most wonderful time of year, so why aren't you writing? If you're looking for something to spark a little creativity, here's how to feel inspired to write during the holidays.

Original photo by Annie Spratt 

This is the time of year when so many emotions are thrust upon us whether we want them or not. If you’re not running from terrible, cheesy movies, then you’re just drowning in holiday memories, and that can make it really hard to write.

Also, December is a time when we’re all watching the clock count down on the end of year, and we sit around waiting for the holiday. It’s kind of like how nobody gets any work done the last hour of Friday. You’re just ready to be done, so you kill time.

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So, when you find yourself buried in Christmas noise, here are some tips for how to feel inspired to write during the holidays. I can’t guarantee that these tips will help you write the next great American novel. But I can say that they’ll help you stay consistent on your project.

How to Feel Inspired to Write During the Holidays

001: Embrace habits, not goals.

The weird thing about inspiration is that it doesn’t just show up when it feels like it. You have to put in the work every single day in order for it to strike. So, rather than have a ton of specific word count goals during this time, I make keeping the habit the goal. I know I need to write a certain number of times a week and at specific times in order to stay productive and inspired.

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So, if you’re looking for inspiration this holiday season, commit to writing at specific times every week or every day. Having that habit in place will keep you in the right headspace for getting work done, and you’ll be more receptive to the muse when (s)he strikes.

002: Use party guests as fodder.

If you’re going to be dragged to a holiday gathering, you may as well use it in your writing. I’m not typically the type of writer who likes to take stuff directly from my life, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And let’s be real. There’s no better way to tolerate a holiday party than by stealing what inspiration you can.

Grab on to snippets of conversation. Watch mannerisms. See how people stand by one another and make note of body language. Is there a person who is drunk and causing a scene? WRITE IT ALL DOWN. The thing with being an introvert is that I miss a lot of social gatherings, and sometimes you need to be at those social gatherings to figure out how to make people act.

003: Embrace the schmaltz.

It’s that time of year for overly sentimental nonsense. And while that’s generally not my style, sometimes you just have to go with it. That’s why I recommend embracing the schmaltz. (The emotional kind. Not the rendered chicken fat.) Let the movies and music that you can’t escape shape your writing.

Now might be a good time to write a scene where two characters who haven’t seen each other in a really long time reunite. It might be a time for you to really pull on the heartstrings of your readers. If you can turn your words into the equivalent of sad violin music, then you’re golden. And it’s worth noting that you’re going to need to consume good holiday media for this. Not all movies are created equal, and if you don’t want your writing to become cheesy or trite, make sure you aren’t watching cheesy or trite movies.

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004: See how conflicts form.

Pro tip: When you get to the family gathering, make yourself a plate. Then, post up out of the way and just snack and watch. If you’re an adult, then you’re probably aware of all the drama that’s going on within your family. And if you’re an adult and you aren’t aware of the drama, it’s because all the other grownups still consider you a kid and they aren’t sharing this information with you. (If you think your family doesn’t have drama, it’s because you haven’t been told about it. Congrats on maintaining your status as a kid in the family.)

If you’re going to write really intense conflict and use it as motivation for your characters, then you need to see how it plays out in real life. And what better way to do this than when you’re sipping some wine and nibbling on Aunt Hilda’s cheese log? Thinking about how real conflicts form and how they play out in real life will make your writing so much stronger, and honestly, it’s the best source of inspiration during the holiday.

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005: Use time off to absorb more stories.

So, if you have a few days off around the holiday, use them to your advantage. Watch some movies online and in the theater. Pick up the books in your to be read pile and finally conquer a few of them. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends this whole year, and now is the time to refill the well.

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I always recommend that people read broadly, and find things out of their normal genres. So use this time to do that. You can learn so much from other writers and writing styles. Make sure you take advantage of that.

Where do you find inspiration for your writing during the holiday season? Click To Tweet

How Do You Feel Inspired During the Holidays?

What’s something that keeps you making art during the holiday season? Do you find it hard to create during December because this whole month feels like Friday at 4:30 PM? What sort of movies do you like to watch to keep you inspired?

4 Responses

  1. Absolutely love this post! Great ideas. I tend to find story inspiration in songs; even the slightest phrase or situation (like the way a freshly fallen snow makes you feel) sparks a full scene for a book I’m writing.

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