Damn it! That seems to be my favorite phrase this time of the year when it comes to my writing. Just because it’s the holidays shouldn’t mean that I have to give up my writing time right? Still, for some reason it is a requirement that I stop all creative activity and hobnob with people who will ask me incredibly stupid questions about my writing. (i.e. “So do you think you’ll ever get a real job?” or “Where do you get your ideas, is there a place you get them from?”) Is there a way to balance things out so that I can write and be a good host?
The holidays are especially tough for writers because everything is so fluid. People are coming and going, the spouse is hollering come help me and the kids are all out of school. Just to find a minute to write goes quickly from really hard to damn near impossible. There is only one way to overcome this and get through the holidays without resenting your entire clan….you have to set up some agreements and everyone has to stick to them.
Agreement 1 – Your writing is important, holiday or not: You have to make this agreement with both yourself and your family. Everyone knows that your writing pays some of the bills but because you work from home it is easier to shove you aside so that Aunt Millie can be picked up at the airport. Agree with your family that things have to be scheduled around your writing, not the other way around.
Agreement 2 – Your office is off limits: I don’t know about you but for some reason everyone feels that it is okay to sit down at my desk and do random stuff. My brother-in-law sits there to make phone calls, one of the kids needs tape so they search my desk, my mother-in-law needs a quiet place so she sits at my desk and is suddenly snooping through my stuff…make all of this stop. Declare your office or workspace off limits…it’s okay…it’s yours.
Agreement 3 – It’s okay if you need to write: I know the holidays are a busy time. And I know there are extra people in the house, but here’s the thing….you still gotta pay the bills. I would say that it is reasonable that you don’t work ON Thanksgiving or Christmas Day but the rest of the time you should be able to work a bit. Last year I tried to work ahead but stuff came up and I ended up behind. Work some, it’s okay, it’s your job.
These are just three agreements that you can make with your family to ensure that you get something done AND you don’t lose your mind. Writing helps me relax and without it I might punch someone in the face, and although that makes a great holiday story years from now…I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. Set down your agreements and then stick to them and demand that everyone else do so as well. It may take a few holidays but if you are consistent, after a while folks will get it and they will just flow into it on holidays after. You set the tone and the pace and get some writing done.
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