By Judy Christie
When I was a girl, I went shopping at a Woolworth’s store that had a costume-jewelry counter and a ring-sizer that looked like an old-fashioned telephone dial.
Curious, I put my finger into a variety of holes until I found one that seemed to fit. But when I tried to take my finger out, the ring-sizer was stuck.
After a moment of panic, I turned toward my mother for rescue–and felt myself jerked back to the counter. The ring-sizer was chained to the counter. I was chained to the counter!
It was not one of my finer moments.
That incident reminds me of trying to find the right-sized writing life at Christmas.
A calm, fulfilling writing routine can be a challenge, particularly in the midst of this holy and hectic season. It’s unsettling to fret about writing when participating in Christmas activities or to fret about Christmas activities when writing.
Do you ever find yourself off-balance as a writer?
A few steps to hurry less and worry less at Christmas:
• We’re word people, so start with words. List a few words you want to describe your Christmas season. Peace. Joy. Fun. Gratitude. Whatever words you choose become mini-goals as you decide how to spend time and energy.
• Identify projects that must be handled between now and the end of the year. Do you have a proposal due? A manuscript? Revisions? Pull out the calendar, and realistically schedule time to do what must be done. While you’re at it, note your most important personal activities.
• During your writing time, avoid thinking about your to-do list. Devote that time to writing – not grazing the Internet for a gift or fretting over what you’re cooking for Christmas dinner.
• When you’re not writing, give yourself permission to relax. At Christmastime, I can find myself with a vague should-be-writing feeling when I’m doing other things. By switching off those worries, I enjoy both writing and non-writing times more.
• Don’t wait until the last minute to handle writing-related projects, such as blog posts or administrative tasks. Set aside a to-do hour this week and dive into the list. You’ll be surprised at how many things you can take care of when you focus.
• Weave small comforts, such as Christmas music or a cup of spiced tea, into your writing process. Be kind to yourself.
• Allow yourself breathing room during the last two weeks of December. You can’t do everything. When you say “no” to one thing, you say “yes” to something else. Quit fretting about the perfect gift, perfect house or perfect meal. Enjoy being with people you love.
• If you’re swamped, don’t panic. Work your way through deadlines one word at a time – and start planning now to have a less-rushed Christmas next year.
May you be blessed with less hurry and less worry – and many happy writing hours–now and in the New Year.
Judy Christie lives and writes in Louisiana. “Sweet Olive,” her seventh novel, was released by Zondervan in September. She is also the author of the Hurry Less Worry Less nonfiction series, including “Hurry Less Worry Less at Christmas.” She loves to visit at www.judychristie.com, www.facebook.com/judychristie and www.Twitter.com/judypchristie.