Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday Review—Christmas Writing

by Lynn Huggins Blackburn

With all the things we have to do during the holidays, it’s easy to set our writing aside. But what if we could incorporate our writing into some of our favorite holiday traditions? Here are a few suggestions that will help you “keep calm and write on” during this busy time of year.

1. Christmas music—I love Christmas music! One of our favorite things to do during the holidays is to turn off all the lights (except the tree of course!) and listen to Mannheim Steamroller or Trans-Siberian Orchestra. My husband usually falls asleep about three minutes into this seasonal ritual, so I’m firing up the laptop and letting my characters come out and play.

2. Christmas shopping—Follow Lynette Eason’s advice (from a class she taught at Blue Ridge this year)—take your laptop and pound out thirty minutes of writing BEFORE you enter the mall. When you get home, your bank account will be a little lighter, but your WIP will be several hundred words heavier. 

3. Christmas baking—I love to bake at Christmas. Chocolate crinkle cookies, pretzel turtles, Christmas crunch, peanut butter cup cookies, candied cranberries, fudge, nuts covered in anything sweet. Sadly, all that baking tasting equals a lot of calories. So this year I’m hoping to flesh out my novel instead of my waistline. I’m thinking of a word count requirement for each treat I consume. Maybe 50-100 words per cookie. On second thought, maybe I should make it 250 words per cookie.

4. Christmas parties—No, you cannot take your laptop to your husband’s work party, but a small moleskin might not be a bad idea. Make it a goal to notice one unique feature about each person you interact with. Do they have a charming laugh or a dimple? Maybe they have stunningly blue eyes or long eye lashes. Do they seem comfortable in a crowd or are they miserable? Maybe they have a nervous laugh or a deep voice that reminds you of your grandpa. Be intentional about it and then incorporate some of these traits into your characters.

5. Christmas worship—When the holiday finally arrives, put away the laptop, the moleskin, and the pen. Go to a Christmas Eve service. Read the story from Luke 2 with your family. Pray. Rest. Eat too much. Watch football. Make Grandma’s fruit salad and get your dad to tell the story about the time he shot his BB gun at the outhouse (but didn’t know Uncle Rich was in there)! Laugh. Play. Love.

When the tree comes down and life falls back into the regular routine, your words, your stories, your insights, your poems—all will be richer and deeper because of your experiences this season. Merry Christmas!

Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. She blogs about faith, family, and her writing journey on her blog Out of the Boat. Lynn is a member of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and the Word Weavers, Greenville. She lives in South Carolina where she hangs out with three lively children, one fabulous man, and a cast of imaginary characters who find their way onto the pages of her still unpublished novels. She drinks a lot of coffee.


  1. Clever ideas, Lynn! I would expect no less from you. :) I'm putting #4 into practice Friday night when we attend Brian's work party. My mini-moleskin and Ink Joy pens are in place and ready to go!

    Thanks, Lynn :) (And Edie!)

  2. Love these ideas, Lynn! Thanks for helping me remember that as much as I love having big chunks of writing time, I can find creative ways to sneak some words in. A little here and a little there and I could make progress!

    Christmas blessings, sweet friend!

  3. Love the Christmas party for that very reason, but I know I could do better with my observations. And I definitely need to carry my notebook. Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

  4. Wonderful ideas Lynn. I love Christmas too--especially the caroling, and family ltimes together. I've learned to reduce the stress of shopping among the crowds by going places other than the mall. And not being rushed lets me enjoy "the hunt" to get something special for someone.

  5. Great ideas! Thank you for the suggestions!

  6. Love these ideas! Especially the "write 50-200 words per cookie," idea. I'm worried my sweet tooth will get me into trouble, but following this would either limit my sugar intake, or greatly increase my word count. Number five is also a great idea. ;) Thanks for this fabulous post!

  7. Hi Everyone! Thanks for the great comments! I maded some salted caramel pretzel bark...and I now need to write 4000 words :-). Merry Christmas!

  8. I'm going to my husband's Christmas work party tonight. Will be keeping an eye out for a unique feature! ;-) Fun advice.

  9. Thanks for reminding me about Mannheim Steamroller. I've got to find our CD. Love the post, Lynn.