As this is the last Friday before Christmas, I thought I’d try and whip up a bit of holiday cheer. I’m afraid I can’t offer a festive cocktail or share my Christmas baking, but these links have a nice holiday bend. They still include some writing advice, and a few reading recs, but I tried to keep the spirit of the season in mind.
This weekend promises to be busy, but I hope you all manage to carve a little personal time. Whether you want to read your favorite Christmas story, get some writing in, or just find a quiet moment, it’s important to take a break in the middle of the chaos. Wishing you a wonderful weekend, whatever you celebrate. Enjoy!
What the LitHub Staff Is Reading, Watching, and Listening to This Holiday Season. – A fun round up to inspire your own holiday entertainment.
Ghosts on the Nog. – Five forgotten Christmas ghost stories. Charles Dickens isn’t the only author who liked a ghostly tale for Christmas. Note: the link for one story in the original post is broken, but you can find it here: A Strange Christmas Game.
How to Write: 10 Tips from David Ogilvy. – Some advice from the original Man Man of advertising. Not all of it applies if you’re writing a novel, but the basics are sound. Plus it’s entertaining, regardless.
Why I Hate Christmas (But Love Songs about Hating Christmas). – A slightly different take on the holiday.
Overflowing with Magical Shoes: The Elves and the Shoemaker. – A look at one of the few stories by the Brothers Grimm to mention a holiday.
9 Books about Faith that Even Atheists Can Believe In. – Some reading for the less religiously minded.
I’m packing it up for the holiday break and heading back east to visit family. The Knight Agency offices are officially closed until January 3rd. I will post updates here on the blog, however, through the end of the month. Look out for Friday Links and more December Writing Challenge encouragement. In the meantime, don’t forget to schedule your writing time each day for the challenge. Mark those calendars, set alerts in your phone, stick a note on the fridge door. Do what you need to in order to put in a bit of writing time. All the words count!
Those of you waiting on responses to submissions, I hope to get a few more out this week. More news about those, plus an update regarding when I’ll reopen to new submissions, after the start of the year.
Safe travels to anyone on the road, the rails, or heading into the friendly skies!
After piling on the book lists and recommendations, I’m offering you some writing diversions this week for a change of pace. This weekend marks the midpoint of the month, which means the middle of the holiday crazies. So if you need a bit of a break from shopping and such, check out a few of these links. And if you’re not caught in the holiday bustle, congratulations! You’ll have even more time to visit a few of these sites.
For those of you participating in the December Writing Challenge, you’re just about halfway there! Check your calendar and schedule your writing time for next week. The busier it gets, the more you need to plan ahead. And don’t forget to think about what you’d like to accomplish in the new year. 2018 looms around the corner.
Enjoy the writing diversions below, and happy writing!
The 26th International Radio Playwriting Competition. – Entries close January 31st for this annual competition. Try your hand at writing a radio play for this contest sponsored by the BBC World Service.
9 Essayists of Color You Should Know About. – Take a break to read something short and engaging while diversifying your reading list.
Literary Holidays You Should Add to Your Calendar. – A fun roundup of dates to note for a more bookish 2018.
Why Write Fiction in 2017? – A look at the disengagement required this year to ignore the real world and focus on a fictional one.
Nova Ren Suma and Emily X.R. Pan Launch a Platform for YA Short Stories. – A quick look at plans to develop a montly offering of short YA fiction in all genres.
Bookstores Escape from Jaws of Irrelevance. – More proof that indie bookstores are back on the rise, and some of the ways they’ve drawn in shoppers.
These Imaginary Islands Only Existed on Maps. – Literary locations that fire the imagination, from stories to myths to hoaxes.
In honor of the holiday season, this week’s links feature a bookish holiday guide to help you find gifts for the readers and writers on your list, figure out what hints to drop to your loved ones, and maybe plan your vacation reads. Everyone needs a great book to read through the holidays. Whether you pick a new release or a classic, something seasonally themed or more personal, there are books for all types of readers.
Don’t forget to schedule some writing time this weekend, no matter how much shopping you have to do. Keep up with (or join) the December Writing Challenge. Even if you just take half an hour each day, make your writing a priority. No one else can do that work for you. Train your brain to be creative even when you’re busy. You’ll develop great habits to help kick off the new year.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend. I hope my bookish holiday guide helps with your shopping, and that your writing project flows. All the words count!
NPR’s Book Concierge: Our Guide to 2017’s Great Reads. – This might be my favorite annual book list, as NPR sets up their page to help you search for books by subject, etc. Wonderful, huge selection.
The Ultimate BuzzFeed Books Gift Guide. – Another big list of great books to give and get.
YA Books Gift Guide for 2017. – BuzzFeed also offers this great roundup of young adult books for the year, for the younger readers in your life, plus the young-at-heart readers as well.
10 Cookbooks Inspired by Children’s Books. – A fun list of cookbooks that readers will love, particularly if they tend to be nostalgic for their favorite childhood reads.
Historically, men translated The Odyssey. Here’s what happened when a woman took the job. – A look at the newly translated version of Homer’s epic, a great gift for the classics fan on your list.
Diaries are evidence of our days. – Okay, a little more writer than reader, but a great arguement from Austin Kleon on keeping a daily log book, something that can appeal to anyone.
New York Review of Books’ Reader’s Catalog. – A fabulous online selection of tons of book-themed gifts, from shirts to wrapping paper to novelty items.
The Little Bookroom. – A lovely little online bookshop dedicated to travel-related books.
Wishing everyone celebrating a very happy Thanksgiving. It’s been a tough year and yet there is still so much to be grateful for. Thank you to everyone who has stood up for themselves, for others, for people in need. We’ve seen so much hatred flung about in recent months, but we’ve also seen love and truth and determination to get things back on a proper track and make our country a fair, safe harbor for all of its residents. I’m grateful for my friends and family, my wonderful clients and coworkers, and for all you lovely folks. Have a joyous holiday, and don’t forget to take a bit of personal time. Steal a half hour to write, or curl up with a good book. Enjoy!
Today is the final day of this year’s December Writing Challenge. How did you do? Did you write every day? Make progess on our current project? Start something new? Maybe experiment a bit? At the very least, I hope you set up some good habits for the year ahead.
Many writers have successful careers without producing material daily, but regardless of your writing schedule, creativity is a muscle that must be exercised regularly. Train your brain to produce on demand and you will find the ideas flow much more easily than if you attempt to write merely when the whim strikes you. If you’re just starting out, you’ll develop good habits that will help you continue to write under deadline or when you’re traveling or when your day job rears its head and demands your attention. If you’ve already been at this a while, you probably realize that writing can be more of a challenge if you fall out of the habit of sitting down and tackling the work in a set rhythm.
Regardless of your progress this month, I hope you’re heading into the new year with some wonderful ideas and plans to write, and that you make excellent headway with all your goals for 2017. Wishing you a wonderful New Year’s Eve! Stay safe and enjoy.
Whether you’re enjoying a festive meal with friends or family, traveling to enjoy a bit of time off, or simply relaxing at home, I hope you’re healthy, happy, and blessed by everything the season has to offer. Even in the darkest of times, it’s important to take a moment to be grateful for what we have. Happy holidays to all!