Writing through the holiday season
If someone were to ask me, in the months of November and December, which writing gift I would most value, I'd say, hands down, what I most need is focus. It's a distracting time of year, with guilt-inducing "should-be-doings" staring me in the face wherever I look.
Working around the holidays requires careful time management, goal-setting, and most of all, realistic expectations. Figure out which holiday routines truly make you and your loved ones happy. Allot these "deal-breakers" a finite amount of time on specific, determined days. If there are traditions that no one cares that much about (or that you're doing 100% of the work for), try setting them aside for one year to find out if they're missed. Then, you and your family can reset your priorities for next year.
A few years back, I was down to the wire on a December deadline, had a book coming out (with the requisite speaking/signing activities scheduled), and had galleys (page proofs) show up as well. That year, I ordered nearly all gifts online (delivered directly to out of town recipients), didn't get out Christmas cards, and (insert loud gasps) never got to the inside decorations, including the tree. And we went out for dinner, too.
The moral of the story is that the world did not come to an end. But in the years since, we figured out which things mattered to us as a family and which no one was willing to pitch in to lend a hand with. And I've learned to put aside the pressure to be the next Martha Stewart and keep myself sane by keeping the writing fires burning to a realistic degree.
So how much writing are you able to accomplish during November and December? How do you balance work and family?