Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Taking a Holiday Break by Deborah Raney

As we continue on our journey as writers, we need to keep a balance with other aspects of our lives. So this Writer’s Journey Wednesday, author Deborah Raney is here to share tips on how to handle the busy holidays—soon to be arriving.

Taking a Holiday Break

If, like me, you have a January deadline this year, you may not have the luxury of taking a break over the holidays. But I've learned that during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years, I find it almost impossible to concentrate enough to write anything worth keeping. So if at all possible, I plan ahead to take a break from working on my manuscript during those weeks.

Instead, I try to use those weeks to gear up for uninterrupted writing in the new year. In order to spend a guilt-free January and February writing ten hours a day, these are some of the tasks I try to check off my to-do list:

• Catch up on reading research books and articles for my work in progress, along with the industry magazines that have accumulated on my desk.

• Update my website and get my next e-newsletter ready to send out.

• Get my closets organized and my house cleaned (this means taking the Christmas tree down the day after Christmas).

• Arrange lunch dates with all the friends and family I'll be ignoring the rest of the winter while I hunker down to finish a rewrite.

• Get my speaking calendar and notes up to date, send PR material to venues where I'm speaking, make sure I have books ordered and on-hand, etc.

• Balance the checkbook and get my tax stuff in order for the accountant. April 15 will be here sooner than we know!

• Make some casseroles and cookies to put in the freezer so my family won't feel neglected while I go into hiding come January.

• Write some shorter pieces that don't require so much concentration: blog posts, articles, speeches, workshop material, etc. Oh, and the family Christmas letter!

It's not always possible to take the holidays off from writing, but if you find it tough to work on your novel in all the hubbub of the season, it might be worth it to clear your calendar as much as possible and plan to make up for lost time in the New Year.

DEBORAH RANEY is at work on her 19th novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her newest books, the Clayburn Novels, are from Howard/Simon & Schuster. She and her husband, Ken Raney, have four children and enjoy small- town life in Kansas.

1 comment:

  1. Deb,

    Thanks for giving great tips on looking at the big picture. They're great reminders that we can complete smaller tasks/projects and still feel very productive - even if we aren't spending tons of hours on our WIP.

    The holidays can be stressful. So anything we can do to make them more relaxing is helpful. Then we can focus on what's more important and enjoyable - like spending time with family and friends. :-)


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