10 Tricks for Writing During the Holidays
by Loren Rhoads
Sometimes, especially around the holidays, it’s hard to find time to do the creative work you want to do. I’ve used a bunch of tricks to carve out time to write. I hope these will inspire you.
1. Make a list. Whether it’s topics you want to explore or scenes that need to be written, it’s easier to begin writing when you have a prompt.
2. Set an alarm. Promise yourself that you will settle down to write as soon as the alarm goes off. Giving yourself the anticipation of writing time can be inspirational.
3. Set a timer. Anyone can write for 15 minutes. There’s something about the tiniest amount of time pressure that tricks your brain into thinking it’s on a deadline. Start a timer on your computer, phone, or in the kitchen. You might find yourself pounding out the words to beat the bell. If the words are really flowing, you can always add a second 15-minute sprint.
4. Make a date with a friend. Whether you sit down together in a cafe or meet online for a video chat, it really helps to know that someone else is working alongside you. The key is to find someone who will write, rather than chat.
5. Put your headphones on. Many writers make a playlist that they listen to only when they work on a particular project. Listening to the same music every time you write can train your brain to provide inspiration on command.
6. Write somewhere else. If you normally write at a desk, try moving to the sofa or the kitchen table or sitting in bed. The simple act of shifting to new surroundings can shake loose the words.
7. Try a different writing tool. Do you usually write on a laptop? Try writing by hand in a notebook or attach a keyboard to your phone. Some writers swear by word processing keyboards like AlphaSmart or FreeWrite, which only allow you to see a small amount of the text you’re working on. That way you’re forced to move forward, rather than editing what you’ve already done.
8. Write first thing in the morning. It’s tempting to start the day by checking email or scrolling social media, but what might you come up with if you listened to your own thoughts first thing in the morning?
9. Write last thing at night. Take a notebook to bed and draft one more scene before you turn out the light. Do the words feel different as you’re settling in for the night? Maybe your subconscious can solve a writing problem for you in your dreams.
10. Chart your progress. Whether you put a check on the calendar, color in a box on a habit-tracking chart, or note your word count in your planner, record the days you write. It’s addictive to see your progress.
What other tricks have you found for getting the work done? Make your own list, so you’ll have some tools to use next time you feel at a loss for words.