5 Ways to Keep Writing Over the Holidays

Ahhhh the holidays. A wonderful time when we burn the rest of our vacation time and, suddenly, our schedules are wide open. Oh the writing we will do!

writing holidays

Except, oh yeah—the inevitable family visits, holiday parties, and travel time. Not to mention all those holiday TV specials you can’t seem to peel yourself away from (hey, no judgment here, I’m the queen of TV holiday specials).

Next thing you know, you’re shaking the New Year’s confetti off your dazed head and wondering where the heck all that “writing time” went.

How to Make Time for Writing During the Holidays

But it doesn’t have to be like this! Here are five tips to help you keep writing through the holidays this year.

1. Set doable goals.

Any time I’m out of my regular routine, it’s harder for me to achieve at my normal level. I imagine I’m not alone in this. So when I’m visiting family over the holidays, I may not have the ability do my normal full hour of writing each day.

But fifteen minutes? Or fifty words? That’s doable. Setting a reasonable goal lets me take advantage of small pockets of time that otherwise might be wasted. And I get to relax and enjoy the holidays without the writing guilt.

2. Get up early.

I get it. Vacation is hardly a time you want to set an alarm. But if you’re an early bird like me, those morning hours are precious creative thinking time. Sneak into the kitchen before the rest of your holiday crew is awake, brew that first pot of coffee, and get typing. You may even find you enjoy a little down time before everyone else is bustling around.

3. “Sleep in.”

The counter to the above suggestion is to pretend to sleep in—but instead, work quietly in your guest room for a little while before making your morning appearance.

Tip: Keep your laptop or notebook close to the bed to avoid any telltale bumps or floor creaks as you set up.

4. Disappear for a little bit.

If mornings just don’t cut it for you, why not simply slip away for a little bit in the afternoon? Figure out where the closest coffee shop is, close the door to your room, or hey, just find a good closet settle in.

If you’ve got a really big group together this holiday season, maybe they won’t even notice you’re gone.

5. Stay up late.

For you night owls and procrastinators! Once you snuggle into the bed for the night (or the couch, or sleeping bag, or whatever), take just a little time to cram in fifty words or so. Maybe those holiday nightcaps will unleash a little extra creativity.

Even the best of intentions can be quickly detailed by holiday chaos. But with reasonable goals and a few tricks, you can keep your manuscript moving forward no matter what parties and visits your holiday season has in store. I can’t think of a better gift to yourself this year than that.

How do you get writing done during the holidays? Share in the comments section.


The best way to keep to a routine is to have a plan. What’s your writing goal this holiday season? How will you make sure it happens? Think through the challenges and opportunities for your situation this holiday season, and create a plan that fits it.

Then, commit to this plan by declaring it in the comments! Be sure to support other writers by responding to their goals, too!

About Emily Wenstrom

By day, Emily Wenstrom, is the editor of short story website wordhaus, author social media coach, and freelance content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstrom, a sci-fi and fantasy author whose first novel Mud will release in March 2016.

  • Helaine Grenova

    I plan on getting some writing in by “sleeping in” my family know that I sleep in late whenever possible, so using that as an excuse to write should be easy.

  • Kristina Smith

    These are really some useful and interesting tips to improve your creative writing skills specially the last one as you often have better ideas after a nice sleep.

    • Very true! First thing in the morning is my favorite time to write too–before my inner critics are awake.

  • DizzyJade

    I’m planning on staying up late and “sleeping in”. At first I was lost at what to do for the holidays, but then I saw this post and suddenly I don’t really care about presents. Thanks!

  • Darell Philip

    To be rather honest I have often found it difficult to write during the holiday season as unsurprisingly there are many distractions at this time of year (family staying over to celebrate the festive season or me scanning through the Radio Times for those films and programmes I must watch this Christmas!)

    As well as recently subscribing to The Write Practice, I’ve also subscribed to some writing magazines where I have found some competitions I’d like to enter. I also belong to my local library’s creative writers group which often sets writing tasks for us to complete each month. So with all this going on I think I’ll not be in a position to procrastinate. Therefore my goal during the holiday season will be to write suitable material for the competitions I’d like to enter (January 2015 deadline), perhaps committing to at least 15 minutes a day on these. I hope to further supplement these by responding to the writing practices given on here, again spending 15 minutes on these too. Its a realistic challenge. Knowing others are in the same position as me, determined to set and pursue their own writing goals, is all the motivation I’ll need!

  • Also, don’t forget to take advantage of your travel time! Trains, airports, planes. So many dead hours that could be used for writing.

    In addition to my travel time, I hope to be doing some getting to early and “sleeping in” as well. It’s always a struggle with the holidays, but I agree that it’s not so bad if you set your goals modestly and make the most of a few minutes of spare time here and there.

  • Emily, I love this list! Some holiday writing tips don’t take in account that some writers, especially caregivers/mothers, can’t just take off for a few hours to catch up on writing. However, 15 minutes, 50 words is absolutely doable! Thanks again 🙂

  • Winnie

    Besides my regular writing time, I find I get a surprising amount done when I’m waiting for something eg. news on TV, supper, washing machine to finish a cycle. Perhaps it’s because my inner critic is also taking a break!
    This holiday I’ll be cleaning up my NaNoWriMo draft. Wish me luck.

  • Aliya

    I seriously stayed up so late during the Holidays working on my novels. Great article!

    I just started two blogs, a movie reviewing
    blog and a writing blog. If anyone is interested in following, you can
    get there from my website http://www.aliyamcreynolds.com/

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