RTW – Balancing Reality and Fiction

This week, YA Highway’s Road Trip Wednesday asks the question, How do you balance hectic times like the holidays with your writing schedule?

Um, yeah. How do you do that?

I’m not sure I’ve entirely figured that one out. The good news is, I’ve been under contract with a publishing house nearly every holiday season for the past dozen or so years. The bad news is, that means I’ve got a deadline staring me in the face every year all through the holidays.

Which means I have to stay focused and on task in November and December. Yes, I’m longing to go Christmas shopping (or Hanukkah shopping–our family goes both ways). I’m dreaming of baking Christmas (or Hanukkah) cookies. I’m jonesing to go up the hill to one of the local tree farms to cut down my tree. But I can’t just take off all the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas (much as I might wish it) because that darn book isn’t going to write itself.

So what do I do? I do cut myself some slack. I choose a day or afternoon for the tree cutting, for the baking, for the decorating. I work hard on the days when I don’t have holiday festivities planned and get as much written as I can. I tend to do the Christmas shopping in one fell swoop, demanding a list from everyone, and storm the stores on a weekday when they’re less busy. And I keep an eye on my word count and the number of days remaining until the deadline.

I do find it annoying to have to write during the holidays. Even worse, my birthday is smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, so there’s another distraction. But I also know that I’m very lucky to be working under contract, to have that deadline, so who am I to gripe?

How about you? How do you keep working during the holidays? Christmas carols on or off? Christmas cookies stacked on your desk? Is your office decorated? I wanna know how the rest of you do it.

About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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4 Responses to RTW – Balancing Reality and Fiction

  1. Valia says:

    I agree with the annoying part lol. I tend to schedule a lot of writing in between major festivities and hope for the best!

  2. rkhorserider says:

    I don’t think I’ve quite figured this one out yet, either. This year is the first time I’ll be home from college for Christmas break and trying to write (last year I didn’t write at all while I was home). I think I’m going to try to keep myself to a word count goal every day, but at the same time give myself days off to spend time with family and celebrate.

  3. karensandler says:

    Yes, it’s always best to carve out both time to write and to enjoy the holidays. This year we’ll have family in from out of town, so I’ll want to make time for them.

  4. I think having the deadline helps — you know what you need to have done and when you need it done by, and that helps w/ time management. If there’s no deadline… it’s so easy to get caught up in the holidays. Like you suggested, I try to set aside certain days JUST for the shopping or baking, and then stick to my normal schedule as much as possible.

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