Am I the only one who never gets any writing done during the holidays?

2012_December_holiday_writingIn theory, the holidays should be  a great time to pile up the word count.

The weather is cool, and staying home at the computer doesn’t seem such a chore. Days off  from work should translate into productive days working on writing… and yet, it never quite happens that way for me.

I have yet to have experienced a productive writing period over the holidays. Maybe it’s because I’m so concentrated on spending time with friends and family, playing with my children, baking Christmas cookies, wrapping presents, writing holiday cards, watching movies at home, going on long walks and to parties, but my laptop stays firmly zipped in its case each year.

And, strangely, novel or short story writing seems like an unpleasant chore.

Luckily, I’ve done this enough to know this temporary writing strike will soon be called off. January and February tend to be fairly productive months for me.

But it does make me wonder if my little holiday writing hiatus is common. What about you, writers? Do you find that you slow down or stop work during the holiday period? Or do you find it an ideal time to work on your projects?


  1. Catherine on December 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Mmm it’s all about organisation isn’t it? If I’m at home with the clan, seeing family as well, it’s impossible to do anything beyond urgent emails or read a great book. But if we are in the mountains I can ski hard in the mornings then lock myself away in the afternoons. I couldn’t work on first drafts though, only corrections. I need to have my kids far away for full concentration. I am dreaming of a writing retreat!

  2. kimberlysullivan on December 7, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Great points, Catherine. And yes, I feel the same… it seems such a great time to be together with family that it’s hard to pull yourself away and retreat into your writer’s mindset (let alone lock yourself away). I’m the same in the mountains – both in ski season and summer hiking season. I always do tons of writing after a good day of skiing or hiking. A writing retreat sounds like heaven!!

  3. wordfoolery on December 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I find writing during the holidays difficult too, primarily because my normal writing time is while my children are at school. Plus my husband is in academia so he’s an added distraction! Having said that I’ve worked out a compromise that works, mostly. During the Christmas holidays I tidy writing paperwork and do my goal-setting for the year. During the summer holidays I write for 1 hour every evening (skipped nights mean 2 hours the next night) except for when we’re actually travelling. I use hour for revisions, submissions, and blogging rather than for fresh writing because I can do it small chunks. As for retreats – I took 3 whole days away to write last April and it was brilliant – highly recommended.

    • kimberlysullivan on December 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Wow, Grace… you sound like you have an organized schedule. Maybe I should model mine after yours. : ) Ooooh, I do envy you your writing retreat! When you find that Irish castle we were discussing, you can rent it out to writers for their retreats!

  4. chantelrhondeau on December 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I’m lucky in a way. My day job slows down the week of Christmas and New Year, so I usually get my writing time in during the time I would otherwise work anyway, but still get to spend plenty of time with my family. But, my kids are also older and more likely to be hanging out with friends during the daytime, so that makes things easier too. I think it is far more important to have those memories with your family when you can. The writing will always be there 😉

    • kimberlysullivan on December 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm

      Does sound like the best of both worlds, Chantel! And I know you’re progressing at rapid speed through book number two, so here’s hoping the start of 2013 sees your new ‘ baby’. But you’re right, the writing will always be there, and holiday memories with family are more important.

  5. Julia on December 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    As you know I tend to be a misfit, so I write more in December. I’ve just finished two short stories. (It is a lot more compared to other months because I am a slow writer). I burst with energy in December. It’s good to know that you are spending more time with family and friends! Ciao.

  6. kimberlysullivan on December 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Brava, Julia! Two short stories already? And we’re only on the first week of December! Sounds like you do have an end-of-year burst of creativity. Good for you! Share some of that excess creativity with the rest of us! : ) Ciao, bella!

  7. Claire 'Word by Word' on December 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I agree, even the lead up to these holidays has been extra busy and cut into reading and writing time, there’s something about the hibernation period that makes up need to do other activities, especially when children are involved!

    • kimberlysullivan on December 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      Good point, Claire… it’s even the period leading up to the holidays. But I’m sure we’ll come back with renewed energy and ideas for early 2013, n’ est-ce pas?

  8. Celeste on December 10, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I have a little trick to fight Holidays laziness. I wake up very soon when family sleeps and I write for one or two hours. Not so much, but it is enough to make me feel satisfied…Felice avvento, Kimberly!!!

    • kimberlysullivan on December 11, 2012 at 8:52 am

      Wow – sounds like you have a good plan to end 2012 productively. Buone feste anche a te, Celeste!

      • Celeste on December 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm

        It’s just because I need to write like I need to breathe, Buon Natale a te e alla tua meravigliosa famiglia!!

  9. DM-CWA on December 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I enjoy holidays and family and so on, but I can’t write during them. Since they are on holiday too I don’t mind too much. Until I get cranky because I’m not writing….

  10. kimberlysullivan on December 11, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Oooh – your thought pattern sounds remarkably similar to mine. Maybe that’s why the post-holiday period is always so productive for me, the guilt at not having worked on anything earlier. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

  11. […] For writers, this is also a good time to reflect on writing goals for the new year … at least for those of us who might need an extra push, or those of us who don’t manage to get any writing done during the holiday season. […]

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