Friday, December 07, 2012

Get Your Writing Life Organized for the Holidays

I love Christmas and everything about the season, from the crowded malls to the abundance of family. But like everyone else, I can get overwhelmed and exhausted trying to keep up with deadlines and commitments. Before that happens, I’ve learned to take time to map out my time committments at the beginning of December. This gives me a way to stay on track with life and with writing.

To do this, I start out with a blank calendar sheet or an online calendar. I like because I can fill it in in Microsoft Word and also print a copy to keep on the fridge so my family knows what I have planned.

These are the things I transfer to it from my regular calendar:
  • All appointments.
  • Any days I have guests staying with us.
  • Any anniversaries or birthdays I need to plan for. No December birthdays in our family, but our anniversary is December 19. (I won’t share the story about the year I forgot. Yes me…not my husband!)
  • Writing deadlines, including due dates and blog posts. 

Now I try to plan specific dates for things I know are going to need to get done:
  • I take a look and try to plan days I’ll need to spend cleaning. (Like the day before company comes.)
  • I also schedule in a couple of baking days because I love to give homemade goodies to friends and neighbors during the holidays.
  • I plan the days I’ll be shopping. I try to get presents bought early, but there are always a few last minute presents we need.
  • I plan the times I’ll need to spend at the computer to honor my deadlines and not miss my blogging schedule.

Finally, I talk to the family and set dates for family outings, like looking at lights.

At this point I have a pretty clear picture of the amount of time I’ll be able to spend writing during the holidays.

It’s here that I realize I have more to do than time to do it.

That’s when I begin prioritizing my goals. This has helped me stay on track during the holidays and not miss any writing deadlines while still staying on speaking terms with my family.

I’ve developed this system over the course of several years. But honestly, it’s still a work in process. That’s where you come in. I’d love to hear some of your strategies for coping during the holidays.

Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, and has a popular writing blog, The Write Conversation. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. She’s also the Social Media Coach at My Book Therapy.


Ellen Andersen said...

It sounds like you have a good schedule there, Edie. As one of the most disorganized people on the planet, I would do well to put them into practice. I'll take a look at Thanks for the tip!

Edie Melson said...

Ellen, I have to work really hard to stay on top of things. None of these ideas originate with me, but are things I've picked up to help stay sane. Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, Edie