by Jeanne Takenaka, @JeanneTakenaka
A few years ago, my schedule and pace exhausted me. A traveling husband’s schedule, boys’ activities, Christmas concerts, preparing and mailing out our Christmas letters, wrapping gifts . . . all of it caused me to forget how to breathe deep and sleep hard. I was running on crazy/busy/empty/breathless. I literally only inhaled shallow breaths.
In writing life, I concentrated on my third story, blogged, and was trying to build a platform . . . on top of all the real-life stuff. God warned me—I was headed for health troubles.
There are times when we need a little grace. During those busy weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the year? We need a lot of grace.
What should we do when we must step back from our normal writing pace, but we still want to be productive?
Never fear. There are smaller, less-time-intensive tasks we can do to move us forward during the busy holiday season and organize us for next year:
- Give ourselves permission to rest. Agents and editors usually take this time of year off to catch up and to focus on family and friends. Unless we’re on deadline, we should take a cue from them and give our bodies, minds, and spirits space to rejuvenate.
- For bloggers, it’s okay to take a break from active blogging. Most of our readers are also busy with Christmas schedules. They may not visit as often anyway. We should let our readers know what we’re doing so they don’t worry about (or forget!) us.
- Look at what is and isn’t working with our blogs and platforms. Is it time to update our themes? Which social media posts are drawing/not drawing attention? Check logistical things like gravatar and bios and see if they’re current.
- Be on the lookout for ideas to begin posting on our blogs and social media sites in January. If possible, find an idea/series that can pique your readers’ interests based on the themes you write about.
- For those who have tons of pictures, this can be a good time to pull out the laptop (or phone or wherever they’re stored). Delete duplicates, blurry photos, and other photos that no longer speak to us.
- Give ourselves permission to fully engage with family and friends. This is a special time of year. We should be intentional with our time. When we’re with loved ones, let’s love well.
Writing life should take a back seat to real life.
After that Christmas season, I made some changes—for my sanity and my family’s.
Our boys’ schedules still run us a little ragged, but taking a break from most things writing in December has lightened my spirit. Come January, I’m eager to get back to all things writing.
And, I’ve learned how to slow down and breathe more deeply.
What about you? What tips would you add for those who want to be productive but not stressed during the Christmas season?
Jeanne Takenaka writes contemporary fiction that touches the heart. She won My Book Therapy’s Frasier award in 2014 after finaling in the contest in 2013. She was a Genesis 2015 finalist in the romance category, and she finaled in the Launching a Star Contest and the Phoenix Rattler in 2012. An active member of RWA, ACFW and My Book Therapy, Jeanne blogs about life and relationships at http://jeannetakenaka.wordpress.com. A graduate with an M.A. in education, she resides in Colorado with her husband and two exuberant teenage boys who hope to one day have a dog of their own.