Good afternoon all!
Well, the holiday season is full upon us. No matter what you celebrate in the month of December, the next couple of weeks are going to be insane. Say it with me: If I can just live until January, I'll be okay.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Why do we get so caught up in making the holidays so frantic? Tradition, I suppose. I can only comment on Christmas because that's what I celebrate, but you can apply this to any celebration you honor in your lives. (Although, I'm starting to wonder if the Winter Solstice folks have the right idea. Their winter celebrations seem so peaceful.)
November and December tend to be months for "HAVTA" instead of "WANTA" especially for the new or unpublished writer. Every other month, real life makes it hard to carve out time in a day to write something coherent, but throw the holidays in with all their good time fun stuff, and unless you are blessed to be a FULL TIME WRITER, there isn't much time left in your craft. Someday I will invent the 27 hour day and we will all have that extra time we do desperately need!
Last night was the perfect example for me. I wanted to open up my flash drive and write something new, or, better yet, work on formatting my second novel so that I can actually publish it on Amazon this calendar year yet. (Yeah, that's probably NOT going to happen!) However, since my assistant at work was MIA, and since I work for an online retail store, and since it was Cyber Monday and Tuesday and everything was insane, I had a whole list of "HAVTAs" and not a lot of time for my "WANTAs."
No worries, says I, I'll do it when I get home.
Well, except my at home WANTA list included getting to Gold's, where I have not been in a couple weeks. Hey, between all the HAVTA's on my November list and the fact that I've been sick with some mystery virus for two weeks, the gym moved down the list. So add one more WANTA, and the add roughly four more HAVTAs. (Havta go to the store, havta go to kohl's and get new pants for the Boy, havta pick up the Girl after Future City practice, havta make dinner for the rare night when everyone is in the same place at 6 pm, but not BEFORE 6 pm and NOT AFTER 6:30 because then BOY and HUBBY havta go to work and choir practice.)
By the time "Biggest Loser" rolled around, I was exhausted. Oh sure, I did manage to get a short work out in, and dinner made, and dishes done, and laundry started, and stuff on my office desk sorted. But there was no writing done. No formatting. Nothing on my writing "WANTA" list.
It's hard, I know, for those of us who have not quite emerged from our basements as full fledged authors. Hey, even with a book to my name (AND HAVE YOU GOTTEN YOUR COPY OF DREAM IN COLOR?) I am still not supporting myself and my family with my writing YET, which means everything else in my real life moves up the list.
Many of my writers friends just completely NANO WRIMO in November. I'm not sure what that means, but I do know that it involves writers, in the month of November, to frantically pour words onto the page. The word count goals are very high and I applaud everyone who did it. I think I even cut down on my blogging posts in November!
For many NANO is a great kick start to a writing habit. For others, it's a crash and burn that just adds to the feelings of failure we all have as writers. It's just one more thing that we pile on ourselves, we as yet unheard of writers, that crushes our will to live...
Okay, I'm being a little melodramatic. Still, real life gets in the way, doesn't it? I can't tell you how many seminars I've attended that have addressed just that.
So my friends, let me ease your mind. Don't feel overwhelmed this holiday season. Get your HAVTA list completed. (And you know what? Even if you don't get it all done, so what? Will anyone...well, other than my MOTHER...remember whether or not your bathroom was perfectly cleaned or your floors were mopped in December?) For those of you writing, your story will still be there in January. For those of you marketing, it's okay to slack a little. Agents and Editors do. For those of you formatting your books for e-publishing, guess what? The Internet isn't going anywhere, at least not in January. (There would have been something about it by now.)
In short, your WANTA list will still be there at the end of the holidays, and you will be able to face it with a clear mind.
Don't let the feeling of failure this holiday season overwhelm you. You are NOT a failure if you don't write a novel this month. You are NOT a failure if you don't get Christmas cards out, either. (Oh, for those of you who are on my card list...that might be a little hint to you!) You are NOT a failure if you don't make a six course meal for thirty plus have a perfectly decorated house with stuff you made yourself! (Curse you Martha Stewart!)
Keep a notebook close by, of course, in case a moment of inspiration hits. But if you do not sit down for a writing/marketing session, don't beat yourself up!
You are not a failure.
You are a writer trying to keep it together during the holidays.