The weather gods are shining lately. Even where I live (where summer usually amounts to a slightly less than rainy weekend somewhere around June) we’re enjoying a heat wave. It’s holiday season, and while most of us work around the year, it’s still the best time of year. For writers, however, it can be full of pitfalls.
How do you motivate yourself to write when everyone else is on ‘down time’?
How do you dedicate enough time to your writing without feeling like you’re missing out?
These are my top five tips for being a writer when everyone else is on holiday.
1. Decide if you are taking a holiday.
Writing, especially if it is the activity that takes up the majority of your time but does not provide the majority of your money, takes time. It takes dedication. Most writers agree that it needs to be done every day to be effective. Personally, I take holidays from writing. I take a week off between finishing one project and beginning another, I take birthdays (mine, my partner’s, my parents’ ) off, and I don’t work from December 23 – 27. I don’t find that this hinders my writing. In fact, I find that I am more dedicated the rest of the time. But this might not be the case for you. If you’re dead set on writing every day, no skipping, that’s fine.
2. Make exceptions.
But, if you are going to write every single day, I would pencil in some exceptions, some “get-out” clauses that give you leeway. You’re probably not going to write 2000 words every day of the year. Some days, the call of the back garden and the sun may be too much. Perhaps, then, you could set your minimum at 200 words, something that is always achievable, but not always hard.
3. A little old fashioned bribery.
This is one straight out of my personal writing arsenal. I’ll admit it–-sometimes I don’t want to write. Sometimes I want to pretend I’ve never enjoyed writing and spend my free time watching TV and frolicking in the sun like everyone else. At these times, there’s only one way out: bribery. Write a paragraph, eat a sweet. Write 500 words, walk the dog. Sometimes, you need to motivate yourself the way you would a three year old. Placating your inner writer child, if you will.
4. Make writing relaxing.
There’s nothing to stop you (unless you have a huge fixed PC that doesn’t move, and even then you can go all old-fashioned and use paper) from picking up your writing and moving it to somewhere else. You can write in the garden, at the beach, on holiday. You can be in the thick of it and still make your word count–the ultimate compromise.
5. Enjoy the sun.
Sunshine is good for us. And writers, locked away in studies, can almost always benefit from a little more of it. Especially if, like me, you only see real sunshine once a year or less. Put the writing down, go outside, feel the warmth on your skin. Then sit back down and get back to it.
Writing isn’t always fun. There are other things that call for our attention, but with a little effort and compromise, we can usually make a little time for everything.
Helen Dring is a fiction writer from Liverpool, England. She is studying for an MA in Creative Writing and is currently writing her first novel. She likes fairy tales, ghost stories and modern history.