Part of what is overwhelming during the holidays is spending 24-plus days planning for a single day event. Or if you are one of the lucky people to start Christmas the night before, two days.
It’s similar when you plan a novel. The characters, plot, editing, theme, formatting, reviews, marketing… There’s so much to mange that you might freeze instead of start.
Interestingly, both Christmas and new releases have a similar letdown on the day after.
Christmas is intense focus on gifts, meal, food…a perfect minute. And the more expectation you have, the greater the chance of disparity between want and reality.
Instead of trying to see and plan the whole, either in writing or in the holiday, try looking at the moments.
Don’t wait until Christmas
If there’s one thing Thanksgiving teaches, it’s that no one wants three slices of pie after a meal. So, why not have one kind of pie each week for three weeks?
Instead of saving the peppermint cocoa and apple cider for Christmas Eve, take a moment in the middle of the week to sip a mug and stare out the window. Call that Wednesday night cuppa, “Christmas.”
It doesn’t always have to be about calories, but the point is to spread out the celebration. Open a gift when someone hands it to you. Don’t put it all under the tree.
And for a large scope project like a novel, only focus on the next step instead of contemplating the overwhelming-whole.
Celebrate as you go
A Christmas moment could be a phone call with a friend. Reading a Christmas book from your childhood or allowing yourself to make a craft or decoration instead of a chore. Create and listen to a Christmas playlist. Allow what brings you joy as a means of celebration.
Write as you go
If you only have Saturdays to write, there is a buildup of expectation where you want it to be perfect and productive. But in a daydream moment during your commute, you can do the pre-work of writing, editing and problem solving.
Notebooks, note apps or texting yourself can help pin those flitting thoughts for study later on. Blog posts and books can both start with an incomplete thought in a journal or text. If you’re a writer, you can write all the time, whether you are people watching, in conversation, reading, or alone in your head.
Here’s the point where we could say that Christmas can live in your heart all the time… but this isn’t a Christmas movie. Instead, just enjoy a moment.