Three Tips to Keep Writing During the Holidays (and a COMPEL Challenge and giveaways!)

Three Tips to Keep Writing During the Holidays (and a COMPEL Challenge and giveaways!)

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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Comments

  1. My biggist challenge is learning to write around the unexpected. I have one son with special needs on top of caring for my father in law with Parkinson’s Disease and cancer. I’ve learned to using my SOAP devotional time as a tool to incorporate what I’m experiencing through out the day.

  2. I think my biggest writing stumbling block is time. Finding time to get everything done can be challenging. For me, I have committed to writing a blog post every Wednesday. I started this back in April and I only missed one week when we are on vacation this summer. I find having this weekly writing commitment helps me keep writing a priority as well as allows me to keep exercising my writing muscle. My topics vary to what is going on in my life and what books I have read but I faithfully write every Wednesday! I also try to do 3-4 shorter posts on social media each week as well. Just like the other important things in my life, I want be intentional with my writing.

  3. One of my biggest problems is using a structure in my writing life. I write when I feel like it. Then I am distracted by social media, teachings etc… and end up finding that I have spent hours on various things and not having completed any of them. I am challenging myself to start developing a structure that I will use and stick with.

    • Often, when I write, I feel as though I shouldn’t be taking away from family time. I am so blessed to be a stay at home mom and I truly love that job. However, writing is something that I must make time for. It’s healing and allows me a recentering of my mind. It’s a gift to get to write and to love it. I am going to purpose myself to write early morning around 530 before kids wake up. Great challenge Compel team. Love all you guys for helping us so much 👐❣️✝️

  4. Here’s my deal, years ago, my husband taught me to put an X on Jaclyn Days and I’ve gotten quite good at it. December is Jaclyn Day at its best. I purpose to do nothing in December save December itself. Lol. Then, you say, “but what about our commitment to write?” Hmph. So, I’ll pledge to date Charles DIckens later in the days and preserve my quiet mornings as I do year round, pursuing Smart Goals. And, yes, there is a touch of a pout in my voice. Hysterical! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!! 🙂

  5. Michelle Gregor: November 22, 2018 at 9:46 am

    One of my biggest challenges to writing is wanting to know all the answers before I even begin. I.E. “What’s my topic? How will it all look? How do I make a website with a blog? What if nobody likes it?” and on and on:) I realize it is just best to START with wherever you are, and learn to TRUST that things will fall into place without having to be known all at once!

  6. One of my greatest challenges to writing during the holiday season is there are more distractions – positive and negative – some of my typical, year-round go to’s are Netflix or Facebook. But I also am distracted by the joy of being with family and out of my typical environment, which is a blessing. I like the idea of paying attention to those blessings around me to use that as inspiration for writing during the holiday season!

  7. As a wife, mom, and daughter-in-law I allow myself to feel responsible for everyone else’s holiday experience. So even if I have set aside time and created a routine, I tend to set it aside for any family “needs” or requests – baking, shopping, holiday movies, games to play, etc. It’s all wonderful, but I haven’t created any boundaries, so I don’t know when to say ‘yes’ and what I can feel okay saying ‘no’ or ‘not now’ to.

  8. My biggest challenge in setting aside time for writing at any time during the year is feeling like I deserve to allow myself the luxury of doing something I love when there are so many other demands on my time.

  9. My biggest challenge when it comes to writing is feeling like I need to do everything first! For example, publishing my own books requires money so in order to earn it, I tend to focus on creating passive income, or tweaking my blog to help gain more. Rather than to focus on the gift of writing, I get consumed in the means to make the writing possible. As crazy as that sounds, it stops me from giving myself more time to write.

  10. During the holidays, I tend to have less time for writing. I don’t even realize it until it’s happened! It’s usually because my alone time shrinks. Typically, I have an hour or two each day for writing. Holiday breaks from college and work for the rest of my family bring my adult “arrows” home for memory making. Having the family at home brings me so much joy. But, I sure do feel pressure to catch up on writing when the house is quiet again! How can I balance that? I would LOVE to know how nearly empty nesters make it happen with a house full of sweet family.

  11. I’d love to say my biggest challenge is consistency in scheduling and devoting time to write. If I answer honestly, jealousy and comparison to other writers kind of slows me down, causes me to consider my abilities. I catch it quick and remind myself each writer is unique and has a unique path. Still, it is a challenge.

  12. The hardest challenge I have is consistency. Without a fixed deadline I tend to push aside my writing. But once I have a deadline for a publication or submission I can crank it out. It’s the pressure to perform that ends up fueling the writing.

  13. I am a new COMPEL student. The Holiday season actually brings many emotions to inspire writing. My writing challenge during the holidays is to narrow in my message to keep a reader engaged.

  14. My biggest challenge are all the distractions. There are a lot of extra things to do, family in town, kids home from school, etc. These are wonderful and fun things, but they tend to take away from my writing time. I am going to block out time on my daily schedule and shut myself in the office to get it done!

  15. My greatest struggle with writing is sitting down to do it. I get so busy with everything else that I can’t focus. This is an everyday problem. I actually haven’t written an article in 2 months and a personal blog post in about a month.

  16. What a great post today.

    I read once that habits are what we fall back to in times of stress. Whether the habit is good for you or not makes the difference in your life. So form good habits in less stressful times so they become your every day behavior.

    Self discipline in forming my writing habits-so powerful!

  17. Elizabeth Ellinger: November 22, 2018 at 7:56 am

    My biggest challenge is definitely making study and writing a time priority! Like so many mothers, I have often struggled with giving myself permission to pursue my own interests leaving them the last priority. I signed up for compel when my daughter graduated, and now I am in a season of caring for my mother with dementia.

  18. My biggest writing challenge during the holidays is carving out the time to write. I find that I get overwhelmed with all the holiday chaos and distractions and don’t prioritize my writing time.

  19. My challenges are: Staying committed, making the time and keeping focused!

  20. Kimberly Rae Wallace: November 22, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Setting aside time to focus on Compel lessons and writing.