Thursday, December 6, 2012

Finding Time to Write During the Holidays

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

My two most challenging times of year to stay on task with my writing goals are during the summer when the kids are out of school and the holiday season. It seems as though once Thanksgiving dinner is cleared from the table, my life as I knew it comes to a standstill until mid January.

This year, I’m going to try my best not to let that happen. Now that I have my Writer’s Crate set up just the way I want it, and have a schedule in place to write every day, I am determined not to fall off the wagon with my writing goals.

I am so pleased to share some wonderful information I gleaned from a recent article I read on the internet written by Marilyn Horowitz, the president of ArtMar Productions and creator of The Horowitz System®, a revolutionary visual writing system. She is an award-winning New York University professor, a producer, a screenwriter, and a New York-based writing coach who works with bestselling novelists, produced screenwriters, and award-winning filmmakers. She is also the author of five books

Here is the advice she shares with her writing students during the busy holiday season.
She said it’s a common thread for writers to feel crazed and overwhelmed with family obligations, work commitments, and all the extras that come with the holidays such as entertaining, shopping, cooking, and everything else in between. Writers tend to feel that something must give, so it should temporarily be their writing.  Sigh!
Keeping a written schedule can help keep you on task during the busy holiday season.

Horowitz found a trick that keeps writers on task. In fact, many are even more productive during the holidays when they try this method: Instead of focusing on what you can’t control, focus on what you do have control over. For example, look for one piece of your schedule that is a daily non-writing activity, such as a yoga class or walking the dog every morning.

The success key is that if you can prove to yourself every day that you can be disciplined in one area of your life that is not as rigid as your writing schedule, it will give you the confidence to find a way to write, a much higher stress activity.

Here’s the exact exercise Horowitz practices with her students:

Step 1: Create a written schedule for the appropriate holiday period.

Step 2: Assess the degree of disturbance you will experience.

Step 3: Identify a daily activity such as walking a dog or yoga, and actually write the activity in your schedule as a daily appointment at a certain time. (If you see possible times to steal a few minutes to write, note those on your calendar – but don’t hold yourself to keeping them.)

Step 4:
 Keep the appointment you have made.

Performing the activity you have selected is a powerful process. Remember that your ultimate goal should be to make writing an enticing proposition no matter what the surrounding circumstances are. 
If you decide to give this exercise a try, please let us know how it worked for you!

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