Three Tips to Keep Writing During the Holidays (and a COMPEL Challenge and giveaways!)
by Tracie Miles
Happy Thanksgiving from COMPEL Training!
Can you believe the holidays are already upon us? It’s amazing how fast a year goes by!
If there’s one thing I know about the holiday season, it’s how easy it is to let our writing slip to the back burner. Even if we have every intention of jumping back into writing once the new year rolls around, either life keeps getting in the way or we feel out of practice and have no motivation to start again. Neither of these scenarios help us move forward with our writing dreams!
Knowing the holidays were approaching and that there are challenges all throughout the year, our current seven week live course at COMPEL is titled “Overcoming the Challenges Every Writer Faces” where every week there is a lesson on overcoming a common writing challenge. If you are not a COMPEL member, CLICK HERE to find out more about this course and consider joining COMPEL today to access all the teachings!
Below are three tips for pushing through with writing until year end. And be sure to check out our last 2018 COMPEL Training Challenge at the bottom of this post! Prizes galore!
1. DEVELOP SELF-DISCIPLINE
The holidays bring on lots of new responsibilities and obligations, like shopping, decorating, cooking, and entertaining. We typically stick to our commitments for holiday duties, but what about our commitment to write? Make your writing a priority this holiday season, even if you can only squeeze in fifteen minutes a day. Develop a specific routine for when you will write and put it on your calendar, then be sure to keep those appointments. If you’ve worked hard all year, don’t let the holidays derail your efforts!
2. WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU SEE AND EXPERIENCE
This season of the year is packed full of new sights, sounds, smells, emotions and experiences. We think we won’t forget the details of life or holiday memories but the reality is that we all do! What brings our writing to life is showing, not telling, and that requires including details about what we are living out. Using the routine you’ve set for yourself, take time each day to write something about what you experienced or felt that day. Without worrying about grammar or punctuation, journal about your experiences throughout the holidays. Include all the big and little details, feelings and thoughts, sights and sounds. This is material you can use in future writing projects.
3. CRITIQUE OTHER PEOPLE’S WRITING
It can be challenging to come up with ideas to write about, especially during the holidays. On those days when it seems writer’s block has set in, do a google search for a topic that interests you. Click on several links to read articles or blog posts. As you read, think about what it is about the author’s writing style that was good or bad; what drew you in or caused you to lose interest? Was the writer telling you a story or showing you a story that made you feel like you were present. Consider writing up your thoughts about each piece, and once life settles down, use your reviews to critique your own writing styles and improve your craft.
Now for the challenge!
Leave a comment on the blog post about what your biggest writing challenge is during the holiday season or in general and what you will do to keep it from becoming a stumbling block going forward. Five winners will be randomly selected from all of the comments and receive some great resources to kick off the new year!
The giveaways include:
- Enough: Silencing the Lies That Steal Your Confidence, by Sharon Jaynes
- Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story (bible study), by Angie Smith
- Thy Will Be Done: A Six-Week Devotional, a Proverbs 31 publication (multiple authors)
- Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures (book plus 6-week DVD teaching series), by Lynn Cowell
- Beautiful Leather Writing Journal
Please note: Everyone is encouraged to share their challenges in the comments! However only COMPEL Training members are eligible to win giveaways To join COMPEL or learn more about all the writing training courses that COMPEL offers, click here.
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I have a guilt complex. I freely admit that is takes very little to sway my good intentions to sit down at my computer to write. That nasty little voice, being controlled by Satan, whispers in my ear, hey, you should be making the bed, vacuuming the living room, grooming the dog, yadda-yadda-yadda. Then, he spins my imagination into the crystal ball believing I know that my husband is thinking, “she’s not pulling her weight”, or my Dad is thinking, “she’s wasting her time”, or my friends are thinking, “what does she know?”.
So now, as I begin each day in prayer, I lay my struggles out and . Pray to find discipline, and to silence the “nasty” so that only His words of encouragement and grace ring loudly in my ear.
Hi Peggianne! I so understand that awful voice that is always giving you a million reasons to not run hard and fast with the dream to share through your writing with the world. I love your prayer of faith and I am confident as you step out into that faith to move past that false guilt that He will meet you there with strength. Keep stepping, He has got you!
Thanks for revealing your ideas. Another thing is that scholars have a selection between federal government student loan along with a private education loan where it’s easier to select student loan debt consolidation than in the federal student loan.
My biggest challenge to find time to do my own writing is balancing work, Family , and Bible Study, and critique group commitments. Learning to “no” to good things I could be doing and “yes” to things I have prayed about and have a clear direction to move forward with. To keep it from being a stumbling block going forward, I a setting aside a 2-4 hour appointment of time every weekend that is my strictly my writing time. I am currently working on a book proposal and I am organizing my own small group of friends to meet on a monthly basis to help me with accountability, goals, and a sounding board for the book I am writing.
What always stresses me out and keeps me from writing is getting caught up in the daily stuff of life, the ‘noise’ of a large family. trying to make room for ministry, book groups, bible study groups as well. (they don’t normally consume tons of my time). Carving out time, making boundaries hasn’t worked yet. And yet, this past year I had some moments (blog submissions for a writers conference blog) where I did make time to write, even my husband said, after watching me…he doesn’t know how i do it.. he said it was like I ‘get in a zone’. Now if only that ‘zone’ would happen all the time.
sadly, I did no writing over the holidays. Had some (brief ) thoughts but no actually writing. I did do social media daily for my church. that was stretching a bit. Glad they asked me to come along on that adventure, and blessed they didn’t fuss that by posting daily 2x, a Christmas song and a Scripture, they didn’t seem to mind that I went way over the parameters (3x/week) they had set for me.
That said…I am looking forward to January. And getting into the self discipline of sitting my hiney down and writing. Not going to put it as ‘resolutions’ or as major goals (though it is) because i don’t want to stress or depress myself if i don’t make it immediately.
I need to sit down and plan blogs, social media etc. Definitely going to schedule time for Compel and other (ministry) groups.
Check out the teaching on SMART Goals by Tracie Miles. It’s so helpful!
My greatest challenge is getting OVERWHELMED by everything that needs to be done with my online ministry. So much so that I get paralyzed to do anything at all. I am going to plan better, block schedule, and pray for grace along the way. I’ve learned a lot this year when it comes to balancing online work and rest. If my days are planned, I can rest in those gaps set aside for exactly that. Therefore, being more effective for God’s kingdom. 😀
My greatest obstacle right now is LIFE! The last twelve months have been consumed with enormous life changes. It all started in January when we lost my father-in-law. Then, our house sold, and then another family member passed away. The rest of the year was spent moving, settling estates, and trying to find the time to grieve. In October, I was reminded by a beloved author that there will always be peril in our lives. Sometimes, there will be more than we can begin to imagine. However, that is the perfect time to get your words down on paper to help you through the really tough times. So, for now, journaling is my therapy.
I’ve found that I just have not made time to write, learn or read this season. I am challenged by saying Yes to everyone else’s needs but not my own.
I struggle to keep up with writing during the holiday season because I have another business that needs extra work at this time of year, as well as being extra busy with all the extras added into the schedule during this time of year. To keep writing during the holidays I will continue journaling and working in my writer’s notebook. Then I plan to go back through each week to brainstorm writing ideas for use in my Christian Journal Keepers Facebook group. I plan to work at adding some holiday blog posts about continuing to journal during busy times.
As I think about what keeps me from writing more around the holidays, and in general, my knee-jerk reaction is to say time, and while that’s true, I suspect something deeper is involved. We are called to give this time of year, of our time, our money and our talents representing the gift of salvation given to us though Jesus Christ, but how often do we allow ourselves a gift?
So, here’s the thing, I struggle with a sense of worthiness that keeps me from doing a lot of things I would like to do, even things I commit to doing. I have fallen into a mom-rut that keeps me giving and giving so much and so often that I have become almost comfortable in my sacrifice; yet, I am after more. Jesus was our greatest gift, but no one deterred him from his purpose. He did his work and I want to do my work, so look out kids, mom’s doing a new thing this year!
I am gifting myself permission to write…even at the expense of other things. I am worthy of investment and I want my kids to see that, so they know they have permission to do the same. Wish me luck.😉
My biggest challenge is trusting that what is on my heart to write for others is relevant, would be encouraging, and will resonate with them…I don’t write out of fear more than I’d like to admit. The majority of my current writing is freelance newspaper/magazine articles, which I realize are “easy” for me because it’s not about ME…I’m not opening my heart and putting my personal thoughts/feelings/ideas on the line…I’d like to find ways to challenge myself in this area!!
My biggest writing challenge is to start reading again and make notes about what I need to do for my creative writing at work. I struggle with writing non-fiction or on subjects I have limited knowledge about and that’s what I’m currently doing at work. It’s my goal to write and finish my first e-book for my church next year.
My biggest writing challenge is not allowing the season to divert my attention away from what God calls me to do and redirect me to what the world demands me to do.
As a writer I believe we have thinking brains always in action and it’s easy to park the mind on unrealistic expectations that steals away the reason for the season.
Yes! This is a season to invest into the lives of others but not to give more than you are mentally capable. It’s remaining focussed on the Holy spirits lead and finding a balance of hearts call, hearts desire and hearts gift to others.
So for me; it’s balance that will be my biggest challenge.
Blessings to everybody this holiday season
Like so many others, it’s the time factor. If I try to get all the “important” things done first, often by the end of the day, I don’t have a lot left to give for writing. I feel like I have great discipline in my life in some areas, but not so much in others. It’s a journey for sure, and God is definitely growing me in this area.
My biggest challenge is perfectionism.
My biggest challenge is being consistent with the writing, and thinking my writing has to be perfect. Or at least it needs to be flawless. I am learning now to write about anything and everything, for now.
One of my biggest stumbling block during the holidays is knowing when to push forward and when to rest. One thing I can do to overcome this is to be present with my family and record the stories and inspirations that happen in the middle of ordinary days. Then I can share those stories in future freelance articles since they are looking for Christmas stories at least six months in advance.
My biggest challenge is simply documenting/ journaling about what I am experiencing right now. I think that I have a preconceived notion about what that looks like or that I have to do it in a paper bound notebook. I am going to address this by starting a journal on the computer to move myself forward and be able to see the hand of God working in my life and in my writing specifically. Hopefully this will translate into better discipline in honing my writing and honoring the movement of God!
My biggest problem is setting a structure, finding out where to share, getting over setting up a blog, and getting over the fear that what I write won’t be good enough. I’m my own worst critic … I disliked any art work I did back when I could see (I had a stroke and lost my sight in 07) and I rarely share what I write. I’ve started sharing a little bit here and there with FB, but I know that I have a lot more to share when it comes to getting through everything I have in my life.I actually had a friend’s grannie tell me that she enjoyed my FB posts and people tell me all the time that I’m inspirational to them … but my biggest problem (which has more to do with just writing) is not believing how special I am. God put me through what I have for a reason and I know that the little I have shared has helped other people. Mainly reminding them when they’re whining about something that it could be a whole lot worse, lol.