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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  1. My biggest writing challenge is being consistent about my time. I’m very motivated to write in the morning but if I don’t get to it, I’m not likely to catch up in the evening. And during the holiday season, inconsistency is a real struggle!

  2. My greatest writing challenge this time of year is staying focused. There are so many things to distract me. The baking, the shopping and the decorating all pull me away! And let’s not forget the Christmas movies that I love to watch with a big bowl of popcorn. I am so thankful for my family that keeps me accountable. They encourage me and make room for me to write. I am also thankful for the Compel Ministry! Whenever I feel discouraged your teaching helps me to keep going. I am finding that this season with all it’s distractions also brings so much content to write.

  3. My biggest writing challenge will be self-discipline. Everything else hinges on that. I have a space (that needs organizing), and I really want to write, but I allow my daily challenges to interfere. I am working on a daily schedule to follow for my writing, my quiet time, my family time, and my friend time. I’m making new habits, which sounds easier that it really is.

  4. My biggest writing challenges come from my seeming inability to journal on a daily basis, and finishing the den where I usually write. We’ve been remodeling and the den has been the catch all room. It’s so cluttered I can’t begin to think in there.
    I used to journal everyday and now, quite frankly, I struggle. I went through a 3 year period where I couldn’t journal at all, and I haven’t been able to get back in the swing of it. My mind seemed to stay clearer when I did the data dump at the end of every day. Now with all the bottled up extra throughts, it feels swollen like a rising river. Eventually the words will spill out. Whether or not they produce anything usable remains to be seen.

  5. My biggest challenge to continued writing in the long transition from public relations pieces to passionate purposes is the consistency that comes from seeing writing first as an act of worship and obedience; fulfilling my calling to know Him and to make Him known.

    So unlike my corporate experience, much of the time, I’m writing in seclusion with little in-person input and no definite deadlines. Efforts to draw friends and family into the process often lag and lapse; typically, no one has time.

    So it’s easy to wonder who really cares whether or not I write; what difference does it make? It’s too easy to let jobs that produce obvious results mean more and take more.

    A secondary challenge is managing my tendency to make everything bigger, harder and heavier than necessary with ridiculous expectations for myself.

    So I intend to make a humble offering of 500 words on a page every day–first thing whenever possible–and designate 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday for editing.

    I pray for the persistence and perspective to give God my best and trust Him for the rest.

    I’ve propped on my desk a reminder that this writing comes from Christ in me; it’s not all about me or all up to me.

  6. Great Post! My biggest challenge is staying focused during this time of year. I love Christmas and I love to write in my journal, but I don’t get much productive writing done.

  7. The pain of criticism leading to questioning my value as a writer is my biggest challenge. It stops me dead in my tracks every single time. My soul cries out, “Lord, how can this be what you want for me? They don’t see value in my work. Surely, this isn’t what You had in mind when You called me to be a writer.” I feel a sense of loss –somehow my words have failed. I feel empty –my words are meaningless. It is incredibly painful to hear someone say they don’t like what you have written.

    On more than one occasion, I’ve wanted to put my pen down and run the other way. It takes courage to see criticism as a necessary element of writing and a process to breakthrough the cycle of discouragement that it can leave in its wake. Yes, I wallow and I whine and then I ask myself a series of questions that always bring me back to center. What else would I do? Is the criticism aimed at me (because they don’t like me) or at what I’ve written (can I do better)? Are they asking me to rewrite everything or simply take a second look to see if I can add, delete, or polish my work so it can shine brighter? Reframing my mindset from one of pure rejection to taking a thoughtful approach to wordsmithing what I’ve already written has helped keep this stumbling block from becoming a brick wall. ~ts

  8. My biggest challenge that keeps me from writing during the holidays (and in general) is simply making the time. Busy moms know that we have a never ending list of to-dos, and when we finally crawl into bed at night, that’s when we usually realize we’ve missed something very important! I want to make the time for what is most important, for what God calls me to do, which includes writing! I need to carve out specific time in the day for spending with God and writing. I need to make it a priority and keeping that special time as if it were an appointment. Easier said than done, but it’s too important to let slip away. ♥️

  9. Stopping the Overwhelm is my biggest writing challenge!

    Those feelings that rise up when I sit down to jot down my To-Do List. The marketing to-dos, keeping up with social media posts, utilising all those many, many …many courses that I have paid for but haven’t quite finished (or even started!) , the publishing to-dos, the weekly email newsletter, the guest posting and the list goes on and on and on. Oh, and the actual research and writing of books (the yummist part!). Anyone relate?

  10. My biggest problem is setting a structure, finding out where to share, getting over setting up a blog, and getting over the fear that what I write won’t be good enough. I’m my own worst critic … I disliked any art work I did back when I could see (I had a stroke and lost my sight in 07) and I rarely share what I write. I’ve started sharing a little bit here and there with FB, but I know that I have a lot more to share when it comes to getting through everything I have in my life.I actually had a friend’s grannie tell me that she enjoyed my FB posts and people tell me all the time that I’m inspirational to them … but my biggest problem (which has more to do with just writing) is not believing how special I am. God put me through what I have for a reason and I know that the little I have shared has helped other people. Mainly reminding them when they’re whining about something that it could be a whole lot worse, lol.

  11. My biggest challenge is simply documenting/ journaling about what I am experiencing right now. I think that I have a preconceived notion about what that looks like or that I have to do it in a paper bound notebook. I am going to address this by starting a journal on the computer to move myself forward and be able to see the hand of God working in my life and in my writing specifically. Hopefully this will translate into better discipline in honing my writing and honoring the movement of God!

  12. One of my biggest stumbling block during the holidays is knowing when to push forward and when to rest. One thing I can do to overcome this is to be present with my family and record the stories and inspirations that happen in the middle of ordinary days. Then I can share those stories in future freelance articles since they are looking for Christmas stories at least six months in advance.

  13. My biggest challenge is being consistent with the writing, and thinking my writing has to be perfect. Or at least it needs to be flawless. I am learning now to write about anything and everything, for now.

    Lisa

  14. My biggest challenge is perfectionism.

  15. Joy McLaughlin: December 3, 2018 at 5:18 am

    Like so many others, it’s the time factor. If I try to get all the “important” things done first, often by the end of the day, I don’t have a lot left to give for writing. I feel like I have great discipline in my life in some areas, but not so much in others. It’s a journey for sure, and God is definitely growing me in this area.

  16. My biggest writing challenge is not allowing the season to divert my attention away from what God calls me to do and redirect me to what the world demands me to do.
    As a writer I believe we have thinking brains always in action and it’s easy to park the mind on unrealistic expectations that steals away the reason for the season.
    Yes! This is a season to invest into the lives of others but not to give more than you are mentally capable. It’s remaining focussed on the Holy spirits lead and finding a balance of hearts call, hearts desire and hearts gift to others.
    So for me; it’s balance that will be my biggest challenge.
    Blessings to everybody this holiday season

  17. Christy Killelea: December 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    My biggest writing challenge is to start reading again and make notes about what I need to do for my creative writing at work. I struggle with writing non-fiction or on subjects I have limited knowledge about and that’s what I’m currently doing at work. It’s my goal to write and finish my first e-book for my church next year.

  18. Lisa Littlewood: December 11, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    My biggest challenge is trusting that what is on my heart to write for others is relevant, would be encouraging, and will resonate with them…I don’t write out of fear more than I’d like to admit. The majority of my current writing is freelance newspaper/magazine articles, which I realize are “easy” for me because it’s not about ME…I’m not opening my heart and putting my personal thoughts/feelings/ideas on the line…I’d like to find ways to challenge myself in this area!!

  19. As I think about what keeps me from writing more around the holidays, and in general, my knee-jerk reaction is to say time, and while that’s true, I suspect something deeper is involved. We are called to give this time of year, of our time, our money and our talents representing the gift of salvation given to us though Jesus Christ, but how often do we allow ourselves a gift?

    So, here’s the thing, I struggle with a sense of worthiness that keeps me from doing a lot of things I would like to do, even things I commit to doing. I have fallen into a mom-rut that keeps me giving and giving so much and so often that I have become almost comfortable in my sacrifice; yet, I am after more. Jesus was our greatest gift, but no one deterred him from his purpose. He did his work and I want to do my work, so look out kids, mom’s doing a new thing this year!

    I am gifting myself permission to write…even at the expense of other things. I am worthy of investment and I want my kids to see that, so they know they have permission to do the same. Wish me luck.😉

  20. I struggle to keep up with writing during the holiday season because I have another business that needs extra work at this time of year, as well as being extra busy with all the extras added into the schedule during this time of year. To keep writing during the holidays I will continue journaling and working in my writer’s notebook. Then I plan to go back through each week to brainstorm writing ideas for use in my Christian Journal Keepers Facebook group. I plan to work at adding some holiday blog posts about continuing to journal during busy times.