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For Authors: December 19, 2018 Issue [#9288]

 This week: The Holi-Daze
  Edited by: Jeff
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

"Do not over-intellectualize the production process.
Try to keep it simple: tell the darned story."
-- Tom Clancy

Trivia of the Week: Ever have that experience of trying the find the hottest toy in town during the holiday season? The pop culture website POPSUGAR has assembled a list of the Hot Toys That Sold Out Every Christmas from 1983-2017  . If you want a trip down memory lane (or to relive your worst shopping nightmares), give it a look. I remember desperately wanting Transformers and a Nintendo (and Gameboy) as a kid, and the absolute insanity surrounding the search for Tickle Me Elmos and limited edition Beanie Babies.

Word from our sponsor

Letter from the editor


Ah, the holidays. It's that wonderful time of year when most of us visit family and/or friends, deal with crazy travel plans, eat way too much, and generally recover from the previous fifty weeks of the year in preparation to do it all over again when the calendar flips to 2019. With everything going on, it's easy for even the most dedicated of us to shrug off some of our routines, especially if we're traveling or otherwise out of our comfort zone. Diets go on hiatus when there are candy canes and cake and pie and cookies galore, and it's just as easy to go on a hiatus from your writing habits as well. When you're staying in someone's guest room, surrounded at all times by family you may not have seen all year, and with a million things to do to get ready for the big day, it makes total sense that it might not be the best time to sit down at that keyboard and churn out some words.

Which is why it's so important that you do it.

A lot of studies on habits and human psychology indicate that, for most of us, getting off-track can be fatal when it comes to our goals. If we take a day off, we're tempted to take another... and then another... and then another... until we've fallen out of the habit entirely. And then we tell ourselves that we'll start back up tomorrow... or the next day... or the next day. Whether your habit is a healthy diet, regular exercise, or a daily writing discipline, it's extremely easy to let a day off or two turn into several days off which can often result in a broken habit.

I'm not necessarily one of those people who thinks that writing has to be a daily discipline. Some of us have hectic and/or non-standard schedules and we have to find some other form of regularity. Maybe it's less productive days during the week, followed by much more productive weekend days. Maybe it's totally unproductive periods during certain days of the week and very productive days otherwise. The specifics of your particular writing habit notwithstanding, it's important that you keep it up during times when your schedule changes, like when you're on vacation or home for the holidays.

That doesn't necessarily mean you have to be as productive as you usually are. Even a reduced goal can have value. If you normally commit to writing 2,000 words per day, maybe you only commit to writing 500 words per day while you're celebrating (or avoiding *Laugh*) the holidays and things are a little more chaotic than usual. The goal isn't to maintain a fixed amount of output; it's to maintain the habit of sitting down at the computer, journal, pad of paper, etc. and write.

The same is true of vacations. You don't necessarily have to spent the same four hours inside at the computer you normally do (that wouldn't be much of a vacation!), but a little writing output each day can go a really long way. It doesn't even have to be your current work in progress; a lot of people find value in simply journaling about their travels, or writing letters to loved ones. Whatever gets you in your chair and writing (even if only for short periods of time) will help you preserve the habit in the face of being outside your normal, comfortable work environment.

The holidays can be a very stressful time. Some of us have to put up with family we don't like. Others love their family and look forward to scarcely having a moment alone. Others still may not have any family or have issues with the holidays that makes them painful and/or lonely to experience. Whether you associate good or bad feelings with the holidays, it's very likely that this time of year will throw you off your rhythms and off your regular schedule. And when that happens, it's important to claw back at least a little of that routine that makes you productive. Don't let your habits atrophy during the holidays; spending at least a few minutes a day on a maintenance routine can do wonders for your confidence and make it much easier to slip back into your familiar routine once the holidays are over.

Until next time,

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If you're interested in checking out my work:
"Blogocentric Formulations
"New & Noteworthy Things

Editor's Picks

This month's official Writing.com writing contest is:

What a Character! : Official WDC Contest  [E]
Create a memorable character using the given prompt for huge prizes!
by Writing.Com Support

I also encourage you to check out the following items:

I will roam for Christmas  [18+]
The countdown begins.
by Jayne

EXCERPT: I plan to outrun the ghost of Christmas Past.

 Invalid Item  []

by A Guest Visitor

EXCERPT: The season, for most of us, is a time for giving gifts. We give the gift of ourselves as we worship the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also natural for us to give gifts to those we know and care about.

Nuttin' for Christmas  [ASR]
You'd better watch out! (Written for Dec 2018 Dialogue 500)
by Cubby

EXCERPT: "Merry Christmas, Squirrel! Are the children all snuggled, asleep in their beds?"

 Invalid Item  []

by A Guest Visitor

EXCERPT: The room was bitter cold with each breath coming out into a misty cloud hovering over each word. Frost etched the small window. The eye of the moon peeked in shining a glow over the upturned face of a child.

 Christmas Carols  [E]
Holidays are hard sometimes
by Private

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Ask & Answer

Feedback from "For Authors Newsletter (November 21, 2018) about pushing through:

hbk16 writes: "Writing is a challenge . Its ennemi is the none perseverance.Novel requires a constant logical link between chapters.Thanks for sharing your writing experience."

You are very welcome!

Quick-Quill writes: "I have finished my crime novel after 35 years its getting published.(after I do my next editing from the publisher) I have to re-edit my first novel and get it back on the market. and I'm working on a new book. All because I joined a 100 Day book challenge"

It's amazing how a simple challenge like the 100-Day Book Challenge or NaNoWriMo can often inspire us to achieve our goals!

Mary Ann MCPhedran writes: "Thank you for sharing your news letter, I have a few self published into our local library, and I do know there are mistakes in them because my writers at my local group have pointed them out. Nobody has complained and"

Glad to hear that you haven't received any complaints! And congrats on having some of your titles available at your local library!

Crow writes: "Hello, Jeff. I read your article with personal interest, primarily because I can relate to the problem of being distracted if the project begins to have a much greater appetite for words than I initially anticipated. When I began writing on WDC, I wrote mainly articles of a non-fiction historical or philosophical nature. Such pieces can begin to take up space very quickly. Then, before you know it, you have reached 3000 words with the conclusion at some indistinct distance. By the time that has occurred, I am beginning to get a little weary of the project. At that point, remaining focused becomes a major challenge. I type all first drafts on a manual typewriter and only start with the computer when I feel confident that only slight variations will be made. That being said, I often find that the first draft prompts changes in large segments of an article. I have also been known to set a lengthy piece of work aside until my interest is rekindled to finish it. I much appreciated your piece. It caused me to look again and rethink my personal writing work ethic. With thanks, Crow"

Thank you so much for writing in and sharing a little bit about your process, Crow! Writing is definitely not a one-size-fits-all endeavor and I always hope that having more people share their own individual experiences will inspire other writers to try new things whenever they get stuck. Thanks again for sharing! *Delight*

LostGhost: Seeking & Learning writes: "Your newsletter comes at a perfect time to remind me what I am doing wrong. There are just so many ideas bouncing in my head, but when it comes to paper, all these ideas are struggling to grow up. They are going to die like plants whom one forgets to water. I know they have so much potential if only I can make myself work on them. I am glad that you got the inspiration; I haven't, but I am going to try again. "

The important thing is that you keep trying! Depending on circumstances, we all have periods of time where we're less productive or less accomplished than we want to be. But as long as you're keeping at it, that's the most critical component. *Smile*

Elycia ☮ Happy 2023! writes: "Thank you for your inspiring newsletter, Jeff. I've been so busy this year, it's my most unproductive year in terms of writing, if you don't count the freelance gig, which I don't. Just one more day to go and we all need to go create some miracle. It can happen if work could stop flowing in. I can hardly concentrate on anything now."

I certainly understand that feeling! I'm working three different jobs right now, which is making it very difficult to find the time to do all the writing I want to do!

*Bullet* *Bullet* *Bullet* Don't Be Shy! Write Into This Newsletter! *Bullet* *Bullet* *Bullet*

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