Friday, December 6, 2013

Time for Christmas by Jerusha Agen

Jerusha Agen
It’s the holiday season! We recently enjoyed Thanksgiving and all the yummy food that traditionally accompanies that day. Now Christmas is fast approaching. The image of what we want the season to look like and what we experience don’t always match. Author Jerusha Agen offers encouragement for this special—and sometimes stressful—time of year. ~ Dawn

Time for Christmas

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. It’s Christmas!

I love Christmas. It is by far my favorite holiday and time of the year. But, if you’re like me, the holiday season can end up also being the most stressful time of the year. I can easily get so caught up in my must-be-done-by-Christmas task list that I miss enjoying the celebration of the season. While this scenario probably sounds familiar to any average American, I think the situation can be worse for writers.

Since we writers work at home and are well-known to have a “flexible” schedule, we often need to battle the public’s false assumptions. The idea that we don’t have a “real job” or actually work can be pervasive. Even supportive family members and friends can unintentionally take advantage of our variable work schedule and availability by expecting us to postpone our writing time for their needs.

At Christmastime, this juggling act of balancing a flexible writing schedule with the other demands of life can feel like I’ve added about ten more balls. Inevitably, I end up dropping some of those balls, and, most often, it’s the writing balls that go first. Perhaps more than the “normals” with their office jobs, we writers get to add guilt and frustration to our stress during the holidays, since our work time is so easily cut (by ourselves or others) from the schedule of Christmas activities and preparations.

Yet, when I take a look at the non-writing balls I’m still keeping up in the air at Christmastime, I wonder if they’re really the wrong ones to hold on to. While we writers do important work and need to guard our writing time if we are to complete our manuscripts and keep our careers healthy, our jobs do give us certain advantages. One of them is the flexibility that can get us in trouble, but can also be an invaluable gift.

No, we aren’t chained to an office away from home, and we don’t have to punch the clock anywhere else. We can actually plan ahead, adjust our schedules, work more on non-holiday occasions so that we can allow ourselves time off during the holiday season. For you writers who have far more energy than I can ever imagine and manage to write while holding down a different day job, cutting yourselves some slack and lowering expectations for December writing productivity might be advisable. Why, you may ask, should you be this flexible with your important work?

Because your loved ones won’t cherish the memory of the Christmas that you eked out your Pulitzer-winning novel or the holiday season you sucked candy canes behind the computer while you pulled your hair out over your work-in-progress. In all honesty, neither will you. We’ll all hold dear the special moments of baking cookies, decorating the tree, Christmas shopping, visiting with family, and celebrating our Savior’s birth with the world.

This Christmas season, let’s be guilt-free and embrace the flexibility of our profession by making time to create those memories that will carry even greater impact than our written words.

Do you have tips for stress-free holidays? Care to share a favorite Christmas tradition or memory? Or maybe you know how to write and enjoy Christmas at the same time? Please share!


It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. Time for Christmas by Jerusha Agen. Click to tweet.

Can you be guilt-free and enjoy the holidays? Time for Christmas by Jerusha Agen. Click to tweet.

Embrace the flexibility of your writing profession and create memories. Time for Christmas. Click to tweet.


The chapter Jerusha wrote for the Christmas novella, A Ruby Christmas, is posted (for free reading) on her publisher’s site:

(Book Two in the Sisters Redeemed Series)

She’s famous for her upbeat outlook. Then the world goes black.

Oriana Sanders is always happy. And why shouldn’t she be? She enjoys a close relationship with God and a purpose-filled career teaching troubled kids. She even has the potential for romance in her sister’s friend, Nicanor, whose dark good looks and brooding manner make him an intriguing project for Oriana.

Oriana’s attempts to reach Nicanor with the joy of the Lord are brought to a halt when a confrontation with her student’s drug-dealing brother ends in tragedy. Facing darkness she has never known, can Oriana learn to forgive the unforgivable and find her way through the shadows to the light?

Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story—a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. In addition to authoring the Sisters Redeemed Series, Jerusha co-authored the novellas A Ruby Christmas and A Dozen Apologies (releasing with Write Integrity Press, February 2014). Jerusha is also a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. In addition, Jerusha is a film critic, with reviews featured at the website,

To learn more or connect with Jerusha, please visit the following sites:  (my author website)  (my film review website)  (to follow me on Twitter)  (to follow me on Facebook: Jerusha Agen – SDG Words)