So. NaNoWriMo is officially over, but you don’t want to stop writing. However, Christmas is coming, and you don’t know how to keep writing during the holidays.

I got you.

How to Keep Writing During the Holidays | Looking for ways to keep your writing routine during the hustle and bustle of Christmas? Here's how to keep writing during the holidays.

Original photo by Roberto Nickson (@g) 

Typically speaking, I’m not super productive during the holidays, and I have to be okay with that. Usually by the end of the year, I’m so tired and burnt out that I need the time off, and since the school semester has ended, I like to take my time off to recharge.

But, as someone with a day job, I always remember that I should be using my time off to get ahead on blogging and YouTube. And then, I tend to put off writing so I can get ahead on other things. So, I’m trying to stay productive during this holiday season.

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If you struggle with balancing writing, other work, and holiday obligations, I got you. Here’s how to keep writing during the holidays.

How to Keep Writing During the Holidays

001: Do it early in the morning.

It’s no secret that I’m a morning person. And this really comes in handy when I have to go to work and attend a holiday party afterward. It can be hard to have time to write, but if you can fit it in first thing, you get it out of the way. Depending on how much you want to get done, it can be as easy as getting up an extra 15-20 minutes early. You may not have time for big writing sessions during the holidays, but you can definitely get in 300-500 words.

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002: Go to bed late.

Not a morning person? That’s super weird to me, but I will acknowledge that perhaps this lifestyle exists. If you can’t get up early to do some writing, maybe you just need to stay up late. I have been known to curl up in my bed with my laptop and do a word sprint right before I pass out for the night. (Admittedly, this happens around 8:30 PM for me.) So, if that’s the only time you can make it happen, then take advantage of the bed time sprint. And if you’re a night owl, maybe make that a few sprints.

003: Schedule a writing session in your planner.

Y’all know I live and die by my planner. And if I want to have a writing session, then by God, it has to be in the planner. Even if I can’t have a few hours after work to really get into a scene, there’s always time for a 30-minute writing session, or a quick trip to the coffee shop for a latte and a writing sprint.

004: Say no to stuff you don’t care about.

Look. Everybody and their brother wants to jack open your jaw and pour a gallon of egg nog down your throat at this time of year. Sure, it’s festive and holiday parties can be fun, but if you don’t care about them, then you don’t have to go. This might sound harsh, and I know a lot of people have invited me to parties this season. I won’t be attending any of them — from the work Christmas party to small friendly gatherings. I just don’t do it. It’s nothing against anyone. It’s just that avoiding gatherings is the one thing that makes holidays tolerable for me. I’m an introvert, and small talk is like a cheese grater on my soul.

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005: Be flexible about output.

Are you going to be able to continue your NaNoWriMo-levels of output during this time? Probably not. So make sure you aren’t setting ridiculous goals and getting mad that you aren’t writing 4,000 words a day. And it’s worth noting: NaNoWriMo daily goals are 1,667 words a day. But if you hit 1,000 words a day, that’s freakin’ amazing. And let’s be real: Getting 500 words a day is pretty freaking awesome too. So, just shoot for getting more words than you had when the day began.

006: Couple writing with a holiday activity.

It’s holiday latte time. And if you want to go enjoy a nice holiday latte, grab your laptop and head on over to the coffee shop. I’m pretty sure all the best literature has been written while consuming hot apple cider or juniper lattes. But don’t underestimate the value of taking a notebook to a Christmas tree farm. Or writing while looking at Christmas lights.

007: Don’t feel guilty about it.

Look. You’re human. You can only do so much during the day. And the most important thing about your life is just to live it. So, if you get the opportunity to have a life experience, take it. Don’t feel guilty for missing a writing session. You gotta have the life experience to do the writing.

008: Don’t cut out the other important parts of your routine.

I know, for me, that writing is contingent upon my health. I have to be in a good place physically and mentally to feel good enough to write. So, I can’t skip a workout or blow off a healthy meal in favor of just chowing down on holiday baked goods. It might feel like a time saver to skip some other part of your routine, but it really just sets you up for failure, or sends you on a downward spiral where your routine is ruined for days on end.

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009: Bring a notebook.

If you’re a writer, you probably keep a notebook on you at all times anyway. But this is just a reminder that this is a great way to get some writing in when you’re busier than normal. So if you have a few minutes in between work and a holiday party, or if you’re meeting some friends and you get there a bit early, take some time to write. Sure, you may not get a lot done, but you’ve exercised that part of your brain, so you keep the habit up.

010: Keep your goals realistic.

Are you going to write the next great American novel during December? Are you going to be insanely productive during December? Can you avoid your family for the whole holiday? Nope. Be real about what you can get done, whether it’s word counts or blog posts or pages edited. You can push yourself really hard, but you’re going to have a terrible holiday.

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How Do You Keep Writing During the Holiday?

What keeps you productive during the holiday? Do you like to write while you do Christmas activities? What’s your word count target for the holiday season?

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