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 http://www.wincalendar.com/ 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.