Hump Day Pep Talk

The holidays have a way of eating your life. I know something about visiting my parents’ house — sleeping in and hanging out in the kitchen with my mother — sends me back to my adolescence when vacation meant lounging like a lump and enjoying the relative lack of homework. I always intend to get more done, but then my mother puts on the tea kettle and waves some sort of pie under my nose, and I’m gabbing until 2 a.m. and ignoring the stack of books on my nightstand.

It works in reverse, of course, as well. If people visit me, I go into hostess mode and it’s hard to take time away from them to do anything beyond what’s necessary. Plenty of opportunities to catch up once they’ve gone and I’m scheduling my day on my own terms again. That’s part of what it means to entertain, at least for me.

All this is my way of saying that I am well aware how difficult it can be to find time for your writing during the holidays, especially if you’ve yet to publish and don’t have deadlines to wave in people’s faces to prove you need to pay attention to your work each day. I suspect that as much of a challenge as it was to write daily while going to your job and prepping for holidays and taking care of families, it’s been much more challenging this past week or so. And so I applaud all of the writers who have taken on my challenge to write every single day in December, with only a couple days off for holiday time or scheduling crunches. It was an ambitious undertaking, no matter how accustomed you are to writing daily already, and you deserve gold stars and cookies for your efforts.

Have you already used your two days off for December? That means you need to write your way into the new year. We’ve only a few days remaining to 2011, and I am a firm believer in setting the mood for the year to come with your actions at the end of the old one. If you can continue to write through December 31st, you’ll find writing daily — or at least regularly, per your own schedule (though I maintain that aiming for every day will do wonders for your work) — easier to achieve. I’ve frequently heard writing compared to exercise, where you need to work the muscles to build up your strength and endurance. Now is the time to flex those writing muscles and to prepare for the writing year ahead.

So how are you all doing? Has writing every day been a hardship? A challenge? Easier than you anticipated? Harder? Don’t forget, if you’ve missed more days than you would like, there’s no point in beating yourself up about it. Life happens. Just get back into the swing today. Happy writing!