Looking forward to the holidays? If you are, that’s wonderful. The Christmas season (or whatever holiday you celebrate) can be the best time of the year. Everyone’s excited, there’s yummy cocktails and wonderful food, and you see people you haven’t seen since last Christmas.
On the other hand, perhaps you’re not looking forward to the holidays at all. One of my friends split from his partner in June; he won’t see his children until the end of January. Another’s dreading the holidays because in her family, quarrels and arguments are guaranteed whenever they get together.
Whether your Christmas promises to be happy or stressful, remember, you’re a WRITER. Not only can you cope, you can mine the season for story ideas to keep you going in 2014 and beyond.
Here are five tips to help you to cope and thrive.
1. Snap away: take photos for story ideas.
I love my phone camera. I’m always snapping away, collecting story ideas, or just memories.
You can snap away too, not only during the celebration, but on shopping trips – remember to take your business cards.
Jill’s been a friend for years. She started out as a business writer, now she’s a ghostwriter. She makes an amazing living, recording people’s lives and memories. Her cell phone’s her primary writing tool.
She’s never without her phone camera. She says: “I usually take at least 20 photos on every shopping trip, especially if I’m in a larger city. When you ask someone whether you can take a photo of them, or their place of business, it gives you a chance to hand out your card… AND get their email address so you can send them the image.”
As I’ve always said, and as Jill knows too, it’s not who you know, but who knows you. Snap away. Hand out cards. Collect email addresses.
2. Everyone knows someone. Share your writing.
Who knows you’re a writer? Everyone, I hope. The holidays give you a chance to remind them.
Ask questions. You can ask point blank: “What’s happened to you this year that I could write about?”
After a few seasons of “great to see you, what have you got for me?” you’ll train your nearest and dearest to bring you story ideas.
Pass around your business cards. Tell everyone what you’re working on, and if you need writing gigs, say so.
3. Write. Every day.
Yes, it’s the holidays. But you’re a writer, so write. Writing’s always discovery. What amazing discoveries can you make? If you’re super-busy, write for five minutes on your phone.
4. Describe what you see and hear.
Make notes. Describe people, your surroundings, record a joke or an anecdote you heard. If you’re shy, write your notes in the bathroom. Even if you never look at your notes again, the fact that you wrote something down fixes the event in your memory.
5. Journal. Collect memories.
The holidays are a wonderful time to develop the journaling habit.
In this article on journaling, I said:
You can’t sell what you don’t write.
You can’t fix what you don’t write.
As long as you keep writing, you’re doing all you need to do.
“Keep writing, then fix it” is a hard lesson to learn, and once you learn it, you need to keep learning it. Unfortunately, you’ll forget.
You can keep your writer’s journal the old-fashioned pen and ink way, or you can keep a digital journal. Collect your memories of this holiday season. It will never come again. Who knows where everyone will be when the 2014 holidays come around?
Have a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas, dear writer.
Remember our Merry Christmas package…
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