For many, the holiday season is full of fun with family and friends. It also tends to be stressful. If you’re in the middle of writing or editing your book, it can be challenging to carve out time away from the busyness of the season to work on it. Is writing through the holidays a worthwhile endeavor? Or should you take a step back so you can re-approach your project with renewed enthusiasm?
When to Keep Writing
If you’re thinking you might keep writing through the holidays, consider why you want to continue writing. Do you feel obligated to keep writing because someone once told you that good writers write every day, no matter what? Or are you compelled to write because you want to keep your momentum? Maybe you’re behind on a deadline or goal you’ve set for yourself and want to start the new year on the right foot.
Whatever the reason, it needs to be a good one. It needs to align with your big why–as in why you’re writing the book in the first place. If, for example, you feel excited about continuing to write, then you should try to capitalize on that. If you have a deadline coming up, you should, of course, try to meet it. But, a mindful and diligent writer will do everything they can to balance their passion and goals with time spent with loved ones.
If you’re set on continuing to write through the holidays, be flexible. It’s okay to spend less time writing than you would at other times of the year. If you’re not willing to cut back on time spent writing, accept that you will have to borrow time from other areas of your life. This could mean an extra half-hour of writing while everyone else is asleep or writing on a lunch break. However, you should avoid unnecessarily working yourself into the ground. The last thing you want is to miss out on special memories and have your family resent you and the book that takes up all your time during this particular time of year.
When to Take a Break
Knowing when to take a break can be a difficult yet valuable lesson to learn. The right time to take a break can vary from writer to writer, but the holidays present a unique opportunity to take a step back and allow you and your manuscript to breathe.
To some, taking a break may seem counterintuitive, especially if you’ve made a concerted effort in the past to write through writer’s block, illness, or tragedy. But, if you’re frustrated with your writing, or you’re disappointed in your progress–or lack thereof–it may be time for a break. It can also be helpful to take a break before evaluating and implementing suggestions from beta readers or editors or after you’ve finished a particularly laborious or emotionally draining section of your book. Or, maybe you just want to spend time with your family.
If you’ve decided to take a break, fully commit to it. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for not working on your manuscript every day, especially during the holiday season. Spend time with your loved ones and take the opportunity to recharge. You will likely come back to your project with renewed enthusiasm. Perhaps you will have new insights or details to add. And you may be able to evaluate your project more objectively.
There is no hard-and-fast rule on whether or not you should take a break from writing during the holiday season. And the decision is not as black and white as it seems. How you proceed during the holidays is up to your discretion and can be as nuanced as you would like it to be.
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