Today, literary agent Rachelle Gardner (@rachellegardner) posted a guide for making holiday writing plans. If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, you already have a plan for the rest of November. And December’s plan is probably just to rest. But what about those not participating in NaNoWriMo?
Gardner offers a few simple steps. First, after looking at your calendar, estimate how much time you think you’ll have to write over the holidays. Second, divide that estimate by half for a more realistic estimate. Third, define your writing goals for the holidays. Is it a word count? Completing an outline? Re-submitting your latest piece? Fourth, make a plan to meet your goals given your realistic estimation of free time. Fifth, and finally, be sure to exercise of the holidays.
Gardner has laid out an effective plan. The holidays are a busy and stressful time for everyone. Her plan helps you define your goals in a realistic manner, while also reducing the stress that can come from adding another set of tasks to an already overburdened “to do” list. In particular, I thought her second step was a fantastic idea. Surprises are inevitable over he holidays. Whether it’s forgetting an ingredient for a side dish or learning that your parents’ flight is delayed only after you’ve already driven halfway to the airport, you will have less time than you planned. Be honest about this up front, and you won’t stress out later when you think you’ve fallen behind. Additionally, committing to exercise now is a great way not only to avoid or reduce holiday weight gain, but also to decrease stress and increase creativity.
I should also point out that Gardner’s plan can be replicated for quarterly or even annual writing plans, depending on how far out your schedule is known. Try out her advice over the holidays (and be sure to keep checking back at her blog for all sorts of helpful advice on writing and publishing). If her plan works, use it in 2012. After all, once the holidays are done, it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions.
How do you create your writing schedule? Any tips you’d like to share? Any traps to avoid?