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CREATIVE OR CRAZY? The Writer at Christmas

by Patti Jo Moore

Like many people, the Christmas season is my very favorite time of year. I love the music, the lights, and most of all remembering the Reason for this holiday season. Even though my life isn’t quite as hectic as it was when my children were little, I still find myself getting caught up in the flurry of Christmas preparations. In addition, now that I’m a writer I strive to continue a somewhat regular routine of writing during the holidays.

However, despite my good intentions and numerous to-do lists, there are many days during December that I don’t come close to my writing goal for that day. And I have a confession to make: Until recently, I’d silently scold myself and think negative thoughts, such as My kiddos are grown, so why can’t I accomplish more each day? Why do I think I can write? Of course, talking down to oneself isn’t good for creativity at all, not to mention self-esteem.

Not long ago I felt a nudging from the Lord to stop being so hard on myself and instead focus on the most important activities in each day. First and foremost, I need to spend even more time in His word. It’s amazing how much more smoothly my day flows when I begin it with some quiet time-not only reading my Bible and devotional books, but sitting still and gathering my thoughts (yes, I still make my trusty to-do lists!). As I’m spending this time, I can clearly analyze what absolutely must be accomplished that day-and what can wait. When I allow those less-important tasks to wait, then I have more time for my writing. For me personally, this results in less stress-which means it’s likely I’ll be productive and more creative!

The common-sense reminders to eat healthy and get fresh air and exercise are also important, even though many of us tend to fall short in the “healthy-eating” area during the holidays. I’ll be the first to admit I’m doing my part to keep the chocolate companies in business.

Something else that has helped me is to write some Bible verses on index cards and post them around my writing area. Encouraging and comforting verses, such as Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me) are great and uplifting reminders. Seeing those helps to keep the negative thoughts away-or at least at a distance.

I simply cannot do my best writing if I’m feeling “crazy” (stressed and frazzled), and since I’m writing for the Lord, I need and want to give Him my creative best-all the time.

PattiJoMoorePatti Jo Moore is a wife, mom, and a “catmom” to numerous kitties. A former first-grade and kindergarten teacher, Patti Jo now writes historical and contemporary romance. When not spending family time, writing, or doing needlepoint, Patti Jo can be found feeding all the cats in her neighborhood.

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20 Responses to CREATIVE OR CRAZY? The Writer at Christmas

  1. So true, Patti Jo! Great reminder.

  2. Wonderful advice, Patti Jo! So true that sometimes we just need to “give ourselves a break” during this frenzied month.

  3. Beth K. Vogt says:

    “When I allow those less-important tasks to wait, then I have more time for my writing.”
    Encouraging words for someone who’s on writing and revising during the holidays. I still want to celebrate the holidays — and make memories (and not just of me sitting at my computer).

  4. Rachel Hauck says:

    Patti Jo,

    Such a great post! So filled with truth!!

    Rachel

  5. HI PATTI JO! So you’re saying when I do something that I wish I hadn’t done it’s WRONG to walk around the house muttering, “STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!”

    Okay, taking notes.

  6. That negative self-talk really does a job on creativity. Thanks for the post, Patti Jo.

  7. Dusty Reed says:

    I’ve been reading Jan Karon’s Mitford series (literally for about the 25th time!) and I receive many Scripture reminders, quotes, and a sense of devotionals from her writing, along with the delights of “visiting” the small North Carolina town of Mitford as viewed by Episcopalian priest, Father Tim. Wonderful reading – and relaxing during the holidays!

  8. Such words of wisdom for these blessed but busy days, Patti Jo. Appreciate you sharing and for reminding me of the importance of chocolate! As if either of us could forget. Hugs!

  9. Teresa Lilly says:

    This is so true. I try to do so many things every day but at night I go to bed having accomplished so little and no writing at all, unless I start the day in prayer and Bible reading. The days I do that, I find the time.

  10. Patti Jo, I’m a big believer in giving yourself permission to live as needed!!!!

    We all handle things differently, and I’ve found an important component for a successful writing career is to schedule work time (because it is a job, of course, on both (wait, there are so many publishing roles now I’m going to change ‘both’ to ‘all’!!!) sides of the publishing divide, once published and when you’re aspiring.

    But that also allows us to schedule time off to focus on family, faith, church, outside jobs. We need to find our own balance.

    I find it less stressful to work through busy months because then I don’t feel like I’m falling behind, but a big part of that is waking up wanting to dive in! And I know that doesn’t happen for everyone. When the Holy Spirit nudged me (with a baseball bat) and said “USE THIS TIME TO WRITE” I realized God was opening a door in my crazy, busy life. All I had to do was walk through…

    So yes, give yourself a break as needed. And then jump on the treadmill again! Sometimes that break opens great new ideas!

  11. Cara Putman says:

    What great encouragement. Thanks, Patti Jo!

  12. Gee Whiz Patti Jo, I thought you were talking about me. This is a crazy time for writing. But you gave such great advice. I love that you remember to stop and take time with the Lord. It really does make a difference.

    Hey do you have anything peachy on hand? smile

    Thanks for reminding us to stay focused.

  13. PATTI JO!!! You nailed it to the wall on this one, my friend, especially this point:

    “First and foremost, I need to spend even more time in His word. It?s amazing how much more smoothly my day flows when I begin it with some quiet time-not only reading my Bible and devotional books, but sitting still and gathering my thoughts.”

    YES, YES, YES!!! Thanks for the reminder. I am getting off email and the Net NOW to spend my time with Him. 🙂

    Hugs,
    Julie

  14. Thanks for the comments, everyone. Praying you all have a very blessed Christmas!! 🙂

  15. Myra Johnson says:

    Wonderful post, Patti Jo! It’s so important, especially this time of year, to have a firm grip on our priorities AND to kick guilt to the curb!

    You’re a blessing, sweet friend! Merry Christmas!

  16. Kathy Scogin says:

    Patti,

    I enjoyed reading this!
    You ask, why do you think you can write??
    Because, we believe in you!!
    Merry Christmas, my friend!!

  17. Susan Anne Mason says:

    Hey Patti Jo! Beautiful message! I must remember this as I try to keep my head above water.
    Working as a church secretary means this is time of year is super stressful – really busy at work, really busy at home, and trying to do my author work.
    Somehow I will get through!
    Wishing you a most wonderful Christmas!
    Sue

  18. Terri Weldon says:

    Great advice! It is so easy to get stressed out during the holidays while checking items off the to do list that we forget to enjoy the beauty of the season.

  19. “Something else that has helped me is to write some Bible verses on index cards and post them around my writing area.”

    Oh, boy. Have you been peeking at my desk? This is exactly what I do. Sure helps to have your glance land on something uplifting. Great post, Patti Jo!

    Happy Holidays!

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