Monday, December 9, 2019

Finding Time to Write--during the Holidays

     You won't. When I first started to write in earnest fifteen years ago, I had just retired. I set a strict schedule that I would write between one and four p.m. every day until I had 1,000 words down. Sounds easy, but it isn't.  I didn't answer the phone unless one of my kids' numbers came up on the caller ID. Nor did I accept offers for afternoon coffee or invites to join afternoon clubs. I got my errands run before noon, had lunch and then I wrote. This discipline helped me to create twelve novels in five years, none sold until Goals for a Sinner, my sixth try, broke through and started me on the course of writing a long running series of sports romances, now up to twelve books. With that success, a couple of other series, Mardi Gras and the Roses, were published and five single titles.
     I soon learned why the publishing industry virtually closes down in December. There is no way anyone but a Super Woman could do all the gift shopping for nine people, address the cards, write the family letter, wrap those gifts, get a tree up and decorated, and still maintain a writing schedule. I was going to dump the Christmas letter, then a few people told me how much they looked forward to it. I considered ordering Christmas dinner from a local grocery store, but was guilted by family who looked forward to the dishes and cookies I make every year. Unfortunately, all of the family lives out of town so having them bring side dishes isn't feasible.
     It's early in the month yet I had difficulty completing the corrections on a galley for Daughter of the Rainbow. There were only twelve corrections, but I did have to read the whole book carefully to find them .Anyhow, they are in my editor's hands now, and I hope she has time to move the manuscript along before the New Year. This third installment in the Longleigh Chronicles should be out in March if all goes well. But, not one word written on the new book which is bumping along like a car on Louisiana's heavily rutted roads.
     Last year in addition to the usual decorating and cards, etc., I hosted the whole family for a week. With four people sleeping in the computer room, I completed zero words on my next book. While trying to get a big turkey dinner on the table for nine, I finally had a meltdown and said, "I can't do this anymore."  This declaration had nothing to do with writing but rather age. Those turkeys get heavier to get out of an oven every year. Anyhow, I am not hosting this year but have turned that over to my grown children.  I still won't get any writing done as we will then be out of town for a week, but I have learned to just lean back and enjoy the holidays with the family.  Let your writing go for a month and get back on the treadmill of writing come January.