01 November 2013

Wait... where did October go?

I've been trying to figure out how to post about vanquishing personal ghosts with my writing...and then I realized it's the first of November. How did that happen?

What scares me the most -- besides losing track of time -- is that I know things will go into hyper-speed from here until the end of the year. While the children and the obnoxious signs at various stores and in ads will remind me there are only "x" days until Christmas, I will feel my sanity and patience slowly slipping away with every interesting rendition of classic carols played over and over and over.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Scrooge. But you wouldn't call me Mrs. Claus, either. ;) I do love Christmas; I just dislike the rushed-panicked-commercialism feel associated with the holiday. It's still an exciting, joyous time for me, but I also manage to get at least a bit stressed out.

Added to all the holiday preparations: we have an early December birthday in our house AND the fact that yes, I am actually writing again... How many hours are there? Only twenty-four? Now I know what I want for Christmas. ;)

So how do you keep on track with writing -- or anything else -- during the rush of decorating, shopping, baking, and more shopping? That's a really good question. I think I'm slowly figuring it out -- for myself, anyway.

Number one: I could try NaNoWriMo ... that craziness that involves a commitment to write 50k during the month of November. No editing; just writing. It's a competition between friends, colleagues, and mostly with ourselves. It's crazy. It can be stressful or it can be a fantastic motivator. I tried it last year and failed miserably. But others succeed and go on to publish their NaNo books. Kudos to them!

However, the motivator which is currently working for me is the fact that I have discovered my capabilities as a writer. I can actually do this -- and a lot of this -- in a short amount of time. When I have to. When I make myself do it. I have some very batty friends to thank for this discovery; and at least two children who will never let me forget it. :)

Not only is that a wonderful, affirming revelation, it's also a kick in the rear. I can do better than what I've been doing. If I can write 9k of a story that I'm really writing by the seat of my pants -- i.e.: I had no idea where the hell the plot was going -- then I can certainly do just as well with stories that I have mapped out in my head; stories in which the characters are as real to me as my own family.

So, I suppose my main advice is that to keep on track during the holidays, you need to find a whole boatload of self-discipline, which will be followed by a bit of success, and hopefully that will give you that confidence boost you need to carry on.

But there must be other tricks we use to keep on track, right? If you have a few, please share. This is the season of giving, after all. ;)

Meg Allison

Indulge your senses...

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