Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How To Write Over the Holidays by Jaime Jo Wright

How does a writer find the stamina and/or the discipline to write over the holidays? That’s a tricky question. Family flying in, dinners to prepare for, Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, grandkids, kids, kids-kids-kids, etc., things can get quite harried! So what do I do, as a writer, with a deadline barreling down on me?

1. I hide. Quite literally. I’ve been known to take my phone into the bathroom and frantically type into my notepad app the next scene, while my 5-year-old son is picking the lock with a butter knife and my mother-in-law is texting me: “cranberry jelly or sauce? And are you picking up butter or should I?”

2. I scream. Maybe internally, but it’s there. That long, silent scream of abject frustration that I can’t have just five minutes to think without someone talking! Introvert or extravert, the fact of the matter is, we all want a few minutes to gather our thoughts. The holidays are not friends with silence.

3. I drink. Lots of drinking. Coffee, mind you, COFFEE! I find comfort in sucking down gallons of free-trade, fresh ground coffee and sometimes pouring in egg nog for good measure. If that doesn’t soothe your soul, substitute tea with coffee, or cocoa, or anything that leaves you sober and restores your sanity.

4. I chill out. Yep. After points 1, 2, and 3, I usually step back and realize this antagonizing stress is so not worth it. Yes, I have a book due in 12 weeks. Yes, I’ve only written 5,000 words and am not sure what my heroine’s purpose in the book is, but let’s be real: it will get written. Sure, it may mean I need to stay up an extra hour or two past everyone else’s bedtimes (enter moment of silence!). Of course, I may have to bow out of that one fun afternoon coffee with friends I haven’t seen since last week Sunday at church. True, I may be writing in a roomful of people who are perfectly content to have my presence if not my interaction. But in the end, I need to rest.

So. Rest. Look for ways to sneak in word count, but be forgiving of yourself. And, this year, I’m staring at an empty chair my Gramma used to occupy and I’m so thankful I didn’t sacrifice time over the holidays past to stress and fret over word count, but instead, enjoyed my time with her. That, I cannot get back. I can make up word count another time, another day. God will be gracious as we devote our time to Him in this moment, for this minute.

What helps you get through the holidays while meeting your word count goals?


The House on Foster Hill

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather's Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house's dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy's search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives--
including her own--are lost?

Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher's Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited romantic suspense stained with the shadows of history. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures

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  1. Thank you so much for allowing me to visit! Here's to the best holiday writing we can do! :)

    1. Glad to have you, Jaime! I'm also one whose coffee-cup contents fuel my writing. "God will be gracious as we devote our time to Him in this moment, for this minute." So true!

  2. Jaime: I appreciate honest posts like yours because it helps other writers know that our struggles are normal. That we are not alone in the holidaze struggles compounded by deadlines.
    While I often have to write during December, I do not go near the manuscript on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or even the day after -- some days just have to be marked off the calendar as non-writing days.

    1. "holidaze" lol! I love that. It's so true. And yes, I fully agree with holding the holiday sacred. Time to reflect and rejoice in the PROMISE that holds hands with the day.

  3. Thanks so much for your post, Jaime! Even though my manuscript is now ready to hand over to my editor, I'm still feeling overwhelmed with the other list of "to-dos" and feeling pulled in many directions.

    The House on Foster Hill looks great! The storyline has definitely piqued my interest. I grew up in Wisconsin, and my historical romance series was inspired by my own hometown and the people who lived there in the early 1900s.

    1. I've come to terms (I think! Lol) with the fact the "to-do" list will never actually be finished. Deep breaths as we go day by day. A fellow Wisconsinite! how cool are you? :)


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