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10 Steps For Staying On Track With Your Writing This Holiday Season

To say that writing during the holidays becomes a lot harder is an understatement. Not only are there the distractions of every day life, but with holiday traditions, events, family gatherings, and a to-do list a mile long our writing tends to get pushed to the side in the wake of all that fun and stress. Don't let your writing suffer during the holidays- with these 10 tips you can stay motivated and on track during the festivities.

1. Be Honest With Yourself: It's important to understand your personal writing habits, what your expectations for your holiday season are, and to know what you're capable of accomplishing during a set time period. Caught up in the joys and excitement of the holidays, we tend to overestimate our writing goals, forgetting that our other responsibilities will be more than usual. Instead of piling on extra writing, be realistic with yourself. Aim lower rather than higher and you'll be more likely to see results.

2. Revisit Your Goals: Revising your goals before the festivities kick into full swing is smart. By this time your mind is focused on other things, so by refreshing on what you want to accomplish you'll be more likely to commit whereas the "out-of-sight-out-of-mind" mentality could lead you astray when more enticing activities come up.

3. Revamp Your Routine: When you look at your goals, you need to decide on a strategy. It may be that your regular writing routine won't work during the months of November and December simply because of time constraints. That's okay! It's time to revamp your routine and create one that works for these special months. Take all your events (and prep) into account, streamline your writing process (maybe it takes you an hour usually to sit down and actually write so try to cut that time in half), and adjust your daily word count accordingly.

4. Schedule Writing Time: One way you can stay on track is to keep a scheduled writing hour. If you can put your butt in your writing chair every day at the same time (and schedule other activities around it) you will virtually guarantee productivity. Having that moment to put your mind in your story consistently will also help you remember what's going on, which translates to greater success when actually writing.

5. Lean on Your Accountability Partner: This is when having an accountability partner is crucial. Having someone to pep talk you, keep you focused, and at times to commiserate with you can keep you writing (and laughing) all season long. Not only does it have the added benefit of fun, but it is also proven to produce results. It's easy to distract and make excuses of why you're not writing to yourself, but justifying them to another writer? Not so much. The natural competitiveness never hurts either.

6. Use Time Wisely: With so much to do, sometimes what works is unconventional. If you find yourself struggling with a routine maybe the right move is to abandon it altogether and instead take tiny increments of time whenever you can spare it. Write in the kitchen while your Turkey is cooking. Take thirty minutes spent watching tv in bed at night and write instead. Even taking ten minutes to text yourself your ideas in the bathroom at a family party adds up.

7. Don't Give Up: The only way you lose this holiday season is if you give up. Even if the only thing you gained for your book is two sentences, that's still more than you had before! Refrain from beating yourself up and giving yourself the blues. Life is tough and unpredictable. Learn to celebrate the smallest victories and suddenly things will be jolly and bright.

8: Learn To Say No: Sometimes saying no is the hardest thing to do, especially during the season of giving, when it's almost expected of us to do and be more. This is when you have to take a step back and put yourself and your writing first. It's not selfish to keep your writing time sacred. You're not being selfish if you leave a party early, or if you'd rather stay home to write. Do what will most benefit you and your story and don't let anyone make you feel guilty for sticking to your goals.

9. Self-Care Still Matters: Don't forget to take a moment to breathe! With all that stress sometimes what we need most is to curl up on the couch with a hot drink, fuzzy blanket, and a good book. When inspiration and motivation runs dry, recharging and refreshing our minds can benefit us in more ways the one. In addition to soaking up appreciation for the Christmas spirit, we also get to cultivate new book ideas = win/win!

10. Keep Going: Above all, just keep going! The less time you spend judging yourself and the more you spend actually writing the better. The most important thing to remember is that you're doing the best you can do. So give it your all and whatever comes from it will be a success. As long as you had fun, that's all that matters.

Writing during the holidays can be challenging but with the right mindset you can achieve your writing goals despite the rush and stress. Hope these 10 tips help! Happy writing!

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