Are you ready for the holidays?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find material to help other writers. Today I discuss getting ready for the holidays…

Christmas seems to come upon us a little bit faster every year. (This year, I started seeing blog posts about it well before Thanksgiving!)

But by early December, we should all start being prepared. I recently saw a useful post on advising bloggers how to get ready for the holidays. And I think much of that same advice can be adapted for writers of any variety…

Here are five tips offered by Darren Rowse:

1. Determine when you’ll be taking a break

This step is particularly important for freelancers, who may be called upon at the last moment, when everyone else is out of the office. If you don’t want to work on specific days, make sure your clients know what those days are.

2. Figure out what you want to get out of your holiday time

Do you want to put your feet up and do nothing but eat shortbread and sip eggnog? Great! Go for it. But also remember that December can be a gift. Your clients will usually be much quieter than usual and you can use some of this time to plan for 2023.

3. Make a list of the projects you need to finish before you can take time off

Then, schedule them. Figure out how long each one is going to take and mark that time off in your calendar. You don’t want to be the only person in the world working at 5 pm on Dec. 24.

As Darren Rowse says, “without taking your plans to this level of granularity, you’ll run the risk of underestimating the time and energy you’ll need to do everything on your list.”

4. Declare your priorities

What if you have more work than you have time?  If you can’t do everything you want, check your top priorities and consider whether you’d be happy if you achieved just those.

5. Get ready for your return in 2023

Here’s another pearl of wisdom from Darren: “Getting ready for the festive season isn’t just about getting through to January 1, 2023. It’s also about hitting the ground running when you get back to your desk.”

Write your to-do list for Day 1, 2023, being sure to include time for:

  • checking emails that accumulated while you were offline
  • goal-setting for the new year (if you didn’t do that during your break)
  • reconnecting with others who you can help—and who can help you.

And have a happy holiday!

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