Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas & Writing through the Holidays

Up until last year, I used to take time away from my writing from Thanksgiving until the New Year. And, especially after the pushing out of GH babies, goodness knows I'm over all the long hours of writing and ready to play. But the problem with staying away from my writing that long was the problems I had getting back into the characters' heads in the new year. Valuable time necessary for pushing ahead was spent in relearning my peeps.

Not good. The solution? Easy. Last year someone posted on another blog about a great way to keep one's head in the game without losing the holiday spirit of fun and laughter. Give a little, not a lot, each day to the writing until the tinsel is torn down and another holiday is put up for the year. For some that means word count. If you write a minimum of 250-500 words a day (except on very special days), then you'll have a 1000 word scene every 4 days (or 2 scenes if you're ambitious).

I'm usually in the midst of revisions during this time, so word count doesn't really help me. For those of us not in first draft, the best idea is to put in time. Tell yourself you'll commit to writing for 1/2 an hour or an hour a day. Sometimes you'll not write at all, but other times you'll write for more than an hour. I managed to keep going through my GH final pages in this manner, and by the time the time the new year hit, I was totally on my game. I finished the revision by January 23rd. Now I also set a goal to be finished before I started an awesome course, Book in a Week, (which lasts a month in prep work and actual writing work), at the end of the month. By working a bit every day, sometimes a lot more (hey, everyone's asleep around here but me), I managed to reach my goal.

This year I am even more motivated to get this MS finished and revised before February. My DH needs a hip replacement. He's getting it February 4th, 2010. My poor knight is in serious need of new armor!! Now I can write first draft with interruptions because I learned not to go back at all during the Book in a Week Course. If I stop, I know exactly where I need to start again. With revisions, no way. I am cutting and pasting and reconnecting pieces and chunks of MS into a whole new world order. If people interrupt my thought processes during revision, they had better be bleeding or have broken bones (ask my DD).

DH will be in pretty major hospital and post surgery ickiness. Constant interruptions will abound. And I must put him first. However, there's no reason I can't hide in my first draft as I anxiously await his surgery to be completed, and afterward as I wait for him to get his therapy. And, as he is noted to be the world's worst patient, I KNOW this will be a time of *ahem* great jumping around and earning my wifie golden points.

Regardless, I must be working on something even if it is sporadic, to keep to my goal of writing 3 category lengths a year (or 2 STs and 1 category). I'll need my fictional peeps to keep sane. And I can write first draft anywhere.

There are people who say they'd love to write (or draw or do ... whatever), but they simply don't have the time. I say boo on that excuse. I learned that a girl can accomplish a lot in a half an hour. Seriously a lot. Set the timer, don't dilly dally on the Internet or play Farmville (why do people do this??), and you'll be surprised by how much you can accomplish.

So my goal is simple: keep writing through the holiday season. Devote a minimum of an hour a day during the weekends and at least 3 hours during the week. That way I've got time to be a friend, a wife and a mom who is pleasant to hang around with and who enjoys her holiday season.

Do it. Have a goal. Finish it. Be firm and committed. Take care of your characters during this holiday season.


Kate Diamond said...

Alas! I am abandoning my fiction writing goals this winter break and focusing solely on National Boards, a huge research/writing/reflection project for my teaching day job.

The sooner I get that done, the sooner I can go back to writing (and inevitably spend a long time trying to get back in my characters' heads, as you pointed out).

Sending good thoughts your way as DH gets his new, shining armor!

Christine said...

Thanks Kate! Your task sounds daunting!! I am amazed at how much extra work teachers have to put into their careers. You truly must LOVE your work! But the National Boards must be tackled. Then you can work on your fiction again.

One of my CPs says it's okay to take a break, but to "touch your MS" or do even a line a day and you'll stay in the game. Might be something to consider as you work on the Boards.

Ellen B said...

OK, I'll take the challenge! A little each day, all through December, party season, the raft of December birthdays among people I know, and the dreaded C-word itself.

I had been thinking that I wouldn't get any writing done after work today because I have a driving lesson, but you've inspired me :) If nothing else, I can edit a little, or proofread, or sort out some research.

And I hope your DH's surgery goes well.

Christine said...

Way to go, Ellen! You can do a little and still manage to get a lot done! I know it. Stay in touch and let me know how you are doing. And I'll be peeking in over in Ireland to see you, too. ;)

Martha W said...

This is a worthy challenge! I love it! Even getting in a few words is better than none at all.

Hope hubby is doing okay in the meantime... Feb is a long haul away.

Christine said...

I am excited that you're joining in, Martha! I think I will have to post on my blog about my own meager attempts to meet the peeps during the holidays. Today I managed a 3/4 hour in--looked at the first fifty, noted scenes on my scene skeleton, and I got my folder ready for tomorrow. All part of seeing the peeps....