Writing in a Winter Wonderland

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untitledSo it is the 24th of December and I am just now changing the page on my calendar. I think the hesitation comes more from denial than forgetfullness. I hate that December follows November. Yes, I know that is the natural order of things, but as a writer December is a particularly frustrating month because it follows NaNoWrimo. November is an entire month dedicated to writing. Writers are encouraged and celebrated while they devote an entire month to their passion. By the first of December the theme of the month changes as swiftly as the coffee flavors at Mcdonalds. The focus shifts from writing to family and festiviites. It is hard to switch gears when the urge is to keep writing or go back and edit what you’ve accomplished the previous month, but society practically demands that you drop your current writing project to acknowledge the holiday season.

For the record, I’m not one of those people who only writes in November. It’s not only November, but it’s always November. Most months I find time to write between work, obligations, family, and that thing called sleep. So far this month, I’ve maybe written a page collectively. How can that be? I just wrote 50,000+ words in November. Did I lose inspiration? Fall in a plot hole? Lose a hand? All I did was turn the page of the calendar where I witnessed highlighted and marked on various dates are entire evenings, days, and weeks that are blocked out for work and family obligations all pertaining to Christmas.

Unlike Independence Day, St. Patrick’s Day, or the famously forgotten Thanksgiving holiday, Christmas is a holiday that last more than a day. It gets the entire month. I don’t mind losing some writing time for family or holidays, but I feel like everything is expected to be put on hold during December. I wouldn’t even celebrate the holidays if it wasn’t for my family. Christmas is one of two days a year where all of my family gets together. This is pathetic considering we all live within a mile of each other. I also have a child; athiest or not, you give your kid presents on the 25th of December. I’m also fairly certain my inheritance is based partially on my showing up to awkward, unnessesary family functions.

Of course, showing up is not all I am expected to do. I have to bring food and presents, so I have spent two weeks shopping for presents of the personal and white elephant variety. Both have proven difficult due to price and my personal finance limitations. I would use PTO to give up one day to get all of my shopping done but almost the entire month of December is a blackout period for my company, which means I have to do all of my holiday preparations after work hours or on the one day I have off each week. Not only am I giving up my days off to shop and prepare for Christmas, but I also have three Christmas gatherings to attend, so I lose not one, but three days of writing.

All I really want for Christmas is more time to write … of course, I’ll probably just get socks.

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