Finding time to write on the Holidays

The holidays are a great time of year, aren’t they? You get a few days off, you get to recharge your batteries, maybe see some relatives (maybe hide from some relatives) and you also get some much needed time to pursue whatever you’ve been putting off all year.

Except… it doesn’t always work out that way.

You know the situation— you’ve got a week off and you’ve got this wonderful list of jobs that you really must do before you have to go back to work, But then there’s sleeping that needs to be done, books that need to be read and time off that needs to be enjoyed because you really have been working too hard, haven’t you?

And then when you get to the end of the week you look at your list of jobs, realise that you made a half-hearted attempt at one of them one morning when you were feeling super-productive (And then felt super-unproductive immediately afterwards and abandoned the task halfway through to pursue more interesting things). So you quickly prioritise your list, do some of the important things you were supposed to be doing all in one big hit of activity and then you sit back, exhausted but pleased that at least you got something done in your holidays.

If you’re anything like me, writing does not make it on to the list of top priorities. In all honesty, writing, unless I’m feeling all inspired, generally falls somewhere between reading another chapter of that book I put down last month and have yet to pick up again and watching How I Met Your Mother repeats (Because it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen each episode, those jokes are still funny). So at the end of my holidays I generally end up with a half-clean house, a pile of random things in the half of my house that I’m yet to properly sort out (but will totally get to someday) and maybe a page of writing that starts well and ends with the Kraken rising out of a convenient body of water and killing all of my characters for being insufferable twerps. (This is how at least 50% of my stories end.)

This is why I take part in things like NaNoWriMo. Even if I’m only beholden to that little graph accusing me for not quite making the daily word count or to a few good friends cheering me along and taunting me with their own scary word counts, that’s normally enough for me to bring writing up to just underneath finishing the next chapter of whatever novel I’m passionately interested in at the moment.

But then that month comes to a close and I find myself trapped in a wasteland of ‘will totally do that soon. Yep. For sure.’ (This is a wasteland that is filled with hilarious YouTube videos, naps and the constant smell of candy).

And so now I find myself having to be disciplined and having to schedule in writing time because it’s important to me. Even though, when I stare at my list of priorities, my rational mind says that writing should be near the bottom somewhere, I need to not only make it a priority but also schedule it in, lest my writing time be swallowed by the pressing need to do stuff.

Even as I write this, I find myself making excuses. Right now it’s not like I’m actually on holidays. I work in retail. It’s almost Christmas. This is the busiest time of the year for me and I can’t possibly find time to write, not between the pressing needs to eat and sleep in between the frenzied activity that is work at the moment. Not to mention that because it’s Christmas my family is down here so I need to spend time with them. (Not that that’s a hassle, mind. I love spending time with my family. This is where I have my issues) and then after Christmas is over (only a few more days!) there’ll be a rush of post-Christmas activities and then January will throw something my way and I’ll be swamped again and then before I know it I’ll be back at university doing my final semester of work and trying to figure out my future and I won’t possibly have time to write and then—

Do you see where this is going?

For a solid three years of my life I didn’t write anything (except one or two short stories when I was feeling exceptionally inspired). I was in senior schooling and I had assignments and friends and everything that doing that involves (It’s all a bit of a blur, to be honest, but there was drama and anything and everything felt like it was the end of the world). And then I left home and went to university and I couldn’t possibly write then because I was adjusting to everything that entailed and it all turned into a big mess of writing getting pushed right to the bottom of things to do.

It was only through chance that I got back into the swing of things. Chance, a few good friends and a run of inspiration that still has me reeling a year later (2 years? Time. It moves fast).

Which brings me to this post. Right now, I’m running late for a bus that I need to catch to get into work on time, helping my mother as she tries her hand at some DIY tiling (don’t ask) and also trying to get this out in time.

But you know what? Writing is important to me so I’m going to make time (even if it involves finishing off this post while I’m on the bus and then seeing if I can sponge some internet off the coffee joint that lives next to my work.

When do you find time to write? Does it come naturally to you or do you need to squeeze it between everything that you’re supposed to be doing (and some things that you’re really not supposed to be doing but continue to do anyway)?


About Meg Laverick

I can never be found without a cup of tea in my hand or a notebook in my bag. In between university and generally being awesome I read, write and nerd (that's a verb, right?). I also like analysing things that are probably best left alone.
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4 Responses to Finding time to write on the Holidays

  1. Lainy says:

    Ah holidays. Mine start around lunch time tomorrow and go for two weeks but i was sitting there today thinking about my to do list and i found myself at the 9th January. Its going to go way too fast. There’s that existentialism essay, doctors appointments, optometrists, cleaning, ironing, getting Jake packed for New Zealand, dealing with the real estate agent, meal plans, groceries, working out some sort of fitness plan, playing with a sparkly new sewing machine…and writing. I said i wouldn’t let myself write or anything until my essay was done.

    yeah… two weeks is not enough.

    What would be really great is another NaNo. Competition makes things more pressing.

    Also, thanks a lot NaNo. I went into you feeling a little apprehensive, got extremely motivated, wallowed in a pit of despair and then became obsessed with reaching 50k to the point where i couldn’t sleep. You made me enjoy you too much. Also, totally opened a flood gate.

    I now have my original story line going along strong and bugging me with the addition of two extra worlds with their own plotlines and characters fighting for attention. There may also be some kind of post-apocalyptic sci-fi hiding under a lobe of my brain somewhere but i’m not going to disturb it…yet. I’m going to need a new notebook for all these notes.

    I would get so much done if i didn’t procrastinate with random crap on the internet. Maybe setting an alarm would work. make it like an appointment…

  2. phoenixandtiger says:

    *headdesk* Speaking of things I should be doing and should not be doing, I just finished reading the entire HP series in three days. Really shouldn’t have done that, I have homework piled up on me….
    And I completely agree with Lainy on the NaNo opening a floodgate thing. So many ideas, so many plot bunnies hopping around, so many notes…. I’m beginning to think it’s a good thing I’m aiming for MilWordY next year – when I announced my year on there, I wanted to click the back button and change it. Then NaNo, and… a flood.

    As for time for writing…. I usually try and cram it within everything else I have to do. But on those rare school days when I can actually think through my first class in the morning and the one class before lunch, I skip lunch and write for the entire hour. At a much slower pace than for NaNo, but at least it’s there. And I don’t think I’ve killed anyone off with sea monsters yet….
    Sometimes it comes naturally. At the cost of leaving a -lot- of homework done during the class it’s due, but….

  3. Mhazie says:

    Writing happens when I force it. I hate beginnings. Even when there are ALREADY words on the page, lots of words, I still hate sitting down and thinking … so, wtf now? I think this all comes down to me being a panster. I try to have a vague otline, but … ugh. It tends to go all right once I’m in the flow, but getting there is hell on earth.

    Anyway. G2g write! I’m writing a friend a well overdue Max/Mimi fic and I promised her 7000 words by New Year’s Eve. >< It's like Nano all over again, complete with me being god knows how far behind.

  4. Mhazie says:

    Also! Studying for exams. I can put that off like no-one’s business, and am in fact currently doing so.

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