Monday, December 25, 2017

Writing Tips for the Holidays

Another quality post brought to you by Steve!
Hey all!  Hope you're enjoying your holidays.  If you're anything like me, you're probably stressing out this time of year, and you hardly need your writing career compounding that.  So here are a few thoughts and tips I have for getting through the holidays as a writer.

1.)  Don't send queries in December

NaNoWriMo is a great event if you care to participate in it.  You can get a lot of work done, or even an entire novel.  However, it's important to self-edit any work before you submit it to an agent or publisher.  A good rule of thumb is to set your manuscript aside for at least four weeks, then give it a second look with fresh eyes.  

However, a lot of people figure when it's done, it's done, and start immediately submitting to agents.  That means that when NaNo ends each year, slush piles in New York go through the roof.  Yes, in an ideal world, every query would be judged only on its intrinsic value.  But you should also do everything you can to make your query stand out from the crowd - and that includes sending it at a time of year when there's less of a crowd to stand out from.  So take December off from querying.

2.)  Allow yourself to take some time off

Holidays are traditionally a time of bacchanal, when otherwise normal people say "Fuck it" and leave behind their usually work and gym routines to scarf down booze, cookies, and gigantic dinners.  If you're the type of person who likes to fuss about this, and double down on working out and making sure you get your thousand words a day written, allow me to give you permission not to.

There's no need to be a hero.  For most of us, getting the gifts bought, dinner made, and decorating done makes you enough of a hero.  There's a reason why depression, alcoholism, and suicide rates spike during the holidays.  Remember to try to relax and enjoy the season, and if that means taking a break from writing, so be it.  There's always next year anyway, right?

3.)  The new year is an opportunity to take stock

This applies to your life as well as your writing career.  I know people have a love/hate relationship with resolutions and their all-or-nothing nature.  Well, forget about that, then.  There's no need to make ironclad resolutions.  But the beginning of a new year is a chance to think about goals.

What did you accomplish last year?  How many books did you get written?  How many short stories did you get published?  How many reviews did you get?  Are you happy with those numbers?  What would you like this year to look like?  If you want to have a book published in May, are you editing it now?  If you want to get an agent, are you querying now?

4.)  The holidays are a chance to stock up

If you're anything like me, it's tough coming up with a wishlist every year.  As adults, if we need it, we often just buy it, and then our holiday gift lists end up looking like a bunch of needless junk.

Well, guess what?  Maybe this is just the time of year to remember all the time and money you spend on your writing career.  Do you need notebooks?  A new computer?  How about a thick stack of books for the TBR pile to stay up-to-date?  Pens for signings?  Business cards?  Swag?  Why not ask for it all now?

5.)  Enjoy the experience

Last, and perhaps most important, a good writer lives life and then writes about it.  Stop and smell the roses - or in this case, the eggnog, latkes, and black-eyed peas.  Be present.  Be mindful, as Cheryl always reminds us.  And enjoy your time with your friends, family, and loved ones!

1 comment:

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Great post Stephen, I got a little depressed during the holidays this year, and found out how difficult it is to write when your mood is low. Your suggestions give me something to consider and help me move on. May the New Year bring peace and writing prosperity to all!

Blogger Template by Designer Blogs