Top 6 Ways Writers Spend the Holidays

As a freelance writer, holidays have never been a big deal to me, perhaps because I often work right through them. But this year is different; last month I got a job coaching kids gymnastics on top of my freelance writing career. Oh yeah, and I’m still trying to write a novel during my diminishing spare time. In short, I’m exhausted. Luckily gymnastics classes shut down over the holidays. And my freelance gig is for an educational game, so it will also be on break for two weeks. For the first time in years, I will have holidays! I cannot wait!


Being the Type A person I am, I made a list of the things I want to do for myself over the holidays. Not surprisingly, lots of writers, especially those with day jobs, make similar lists. So I thought I’d share for solidarity or in case you need any ideas…

1) Reading. When books are your passion and there are millions on Earth to read, there is never enough time to get to them all. No wonder writers tackle their reading lists whenever there’s a holiday. Personally, I’m going to combine reading with a hot bath, because I can do that now that I’ve discovered audiobooks! Just press play, place the phone safely away from the tub, and enjoy listening to a story without getting the pages wet or dropping the book/eReader in water. Plus, the epsom salts will be good for my aching writer wrists and shoulders.

2) Recharging. There are many ways to recharge, including the above audiobook + bath suggestion. Some other favourites are treating yourself to a massage, staying off the computer, going to a movie, or taking a break from social media. Whatever makes you feel relaxed and centered. I’m an extrovert, so visiting with friends is also in this list (yes, I derive energy from other people). Introverts often prefer alone time instead. Whatever works for you. And sleep – get lots of that!

3) Cleaning. This may sound like a boring chore, but I look forward to cleaning my writing space and starting fresh. It makes my brain feel less cluttered.

4) Researching. Since the holidays involve social gatherings with family and friends that may spark a lot of drama, think of this as a way to gather new material and inspiration! After all, character drama is the heart of all fiction.

5) Writing. Like many of my writer friends, I plan to use the holidays to catch up on my own writing, especially since I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo. I call it DeDoWriMo – December Do-over Writing Month. Fellow writer and blogger Allison has even started an online group for it here.

6) Drinking. Whether imbibing in eggnog or champagne, hot chocolate or hot toddies, we all deserve some festive drinks to unwind and be merry this holiday season!

So that is what I will be doing over the holidays. Plus snuggling my cat. What about you? Does your list look like mine? Or do you have something else planned?


Author: Heather Jackson

Heather is a freelance screenwriter, game writer, and novelist based in Toronto. For more, visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @HeatherJacksonW

16 thoughts on “Top 6 Ways Writers Spend the Holidays”

  1. You want to know something strange? Holidays are horrible for my reading. Because I do most of my reading on the commute train to work, I read very very little when I’m on holliday, because I prefer to do all the other things I need to be home to do.

    From your list, writing (yes!), cleaning (yes!), recgarging (meh….)
    I also want to clean up my social media, especially my blog. And I’m planning to start looking into Instagram. I’m becomin gvery curious of it, but I can’t figure out how it can help me as areader.

    1. Trains are lovely for reading! So I understand how you miss that time. A bonus of commuting to work by rail.

      I also took a look at my social media situation and started a Tumblr, which for readers and writers looks waaaaaay more useful and interesting than Instagram. It’s a learning curve if you’re not familiar with the platform (I admit I had to watch a tutorial), but now that I’m over the hump it’s pretty cool.

  2. For me, it’s extra runs. Running is the best way for me to clear my mind and get unstuck when I’m writing. But it’s hard because in New England it’s so dark in the morning. On a holiday, I have the luxury of a nice run later in the morning when there’s actual (gasp!) sunlight. Best thing for my writing is a great run!

  3. Sounds great, Heather! So glad you’re going to get some time off. Super important. I’ll be spending time with my family in Colorado. Mom raises goats and many will be having babies while I’m home. Nothing cuter than a baby goat! Working in the barn=big change from usual writing routine! :O)

  4. Unfortunately, no time for me. I have a rafflecopter contest coming up so I need to market/promote that, and Marred is on ENT on Christmas Day. Love the DeDoWriMo. Adorable! Wishing you and Robin holidays filled with good cheer, great food (and books!), and magical moments.

  5. Your suggestions sound delightful, Heather! I’ve been working more than full time lately. My hope for the holidays is to NOT look at any day-job-related emails during my week of PTO, spend time with my family (who still feeds me even though they haven’t seen much of me, so I guess they’re still around) and become reacquainted with my characters in the book I’m restructuring. Happy Holidays!

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