The Writers Holiday Survival Guide


I am not sure if anyone else noticed but the world seems to stop normal functions during the holidays. Black Friday, while being the craziest shopping day of the year, is also the day the entire world seems to speed up (and not in a good way) . Time flies twice as fast. We are all working on shopping, holiday planning, parties, travel…the list goes on and on.

As a writer this time of year wreaks havoc on my flow. You all know what I am talking about. We as writers are really creatures of habit and during the holidays ‘habits’ i.e. sanity, flies out the window with the reindeer.

So as this year I cannot get off track I decided to give this some thought and share my plan of action (in case anyone else is in need) It is after all the season of giving right?

First and foremost (and this is a little late in coming) do as much as possible before it hits. Black Friday is your target date….okay fine you can have until December 1st but not a minute more! Pre-write as many blogs, and articles needed to get through until January. Many of us have blogs that will allow you to ‘schedule’ a post. Do it! Santa knows we will forget! Oh don’t shake your head in innocence you know you will…

Also you are going to need to add a few things to your shopping list this weekend as we are going to create an emergency kit (you know like an earthquake kit, but this one is for your muse.) Here is what I suggest…

Notebooks – I suggest three sizes small, medium and large. One to fit any scenario you find yourself it. For example, you are going to walk through the neighborhood at your Mom’s with the kids and then eat some yummy chili. Grab the small notebook, pen, and put them in your back pocket. If the muse strikes you are prepared.

Pens, pencils and a editing pen – Always, always, always…

Pocket Thesaurus and MP3 player – there are times when my muse is whispering in my ear but I just can’t quite hear what she is saying. Music always helps translate and believe it or not sometimes I can thumb through a thesaurus, see a word and lightning strikes! Great for waiting in line for Santa, or rides to and from holiday parties (as long as your not driving). Pick something small that will help cue the flow no matter where you are.

Pack of Gum/ Tic-Tacs / Pick me up Drink – these are all for various reasons, to keep you from chipping your holiday nails (if you tend to gnaw while thinking), jump-starting your brain after too much turkey, a smack of rejuvenation after spending five hours at the mall for one present or to keep the kids sated for at least five minutes so you can think in a straight line.

Reusable Coffee Cup / Book Light – These are specifically for those of us who will be doing a lot of car shuffling. The book light is for the late night drives back, so you can jot items down or review your notes when the children finally dose in the back of the car. (again, please not while driving). The coffee cup is so no matter where you are if you see a convenience store you can run in and get some coffee. Why the reusable cup? If you are anything like me you drink a lot of coffee. This will reduce the garbage in the car you have to clean out come January. (oh and it is better for the environment, 7-11 has travel cups for 2$)

Calendar / Spare Phone Charger – we all live by schedules and most of us use a calendar to keep track of deadlines. Make sure you have yours handy at all times this time of year. I cannot tell you how many panic attacks could have been avoided if I would have brought one. Many of us have them on our phones which is awesome. Just make sure you can access it so when in doubt you can check if the guest blog posting is due tonight or tomorrow (when in actuality it is due next week). The spare charger is just in case. When things get hectic this is one of the first things we tend to forget, so keep a spare to plug in no matter where you are.

Last, a bag to put it all in. Most convenience stores are selling eco-friendly shopping bags for 99 cents. Most have handles and are pretty durable. Buy one and keep all your stuff in the back of the car so you will always have it when needed.

If you are able, I would also recommend a mobile program called Evernote. I have this for my blackberry and I love it. It is basically a thought organizer. You can put in on your phone and also have it for your desktop. They can sync and keep everything up to date. You can create new tasks, make lists, set deadlines and reminders right from your phone. You can also attach documents to Evernote so if you are on the road and need to review a document if you put it in your Evernote at home on the computer, you can bring it up on your phone and review while on the run. (best of all the basic package is free!)

So that’s the list, customize it as you will, just make sure you are prepared! You never know when your best ideas will strike and you don’t want to be writing on wrapping paper with a crayon or eyeliner from the bottom of your purse. (you know you’ve been there).

Happy Holidays!


November 2010
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Author: Sassy Brit, Author Assistant

Founder and Owner of author personal and virtual assistant. Editor and reviewer for #altread since 2005.

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