Thursday, December 7, 2023

10 Ways Writing Books is Like Decorating for Christmas

by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I love Christmas. It’s my favorite. It has been since I was a little bitty thing and I could barely sleep on Christmas Eve. I was a present shaker, but I never peeked. The anticipation and excitement were what made it so much fun.

You know what else made it fun? 

All the work my mom did to decorate and make thing festive, but I didn’t realize that until I was all grown up and facing the task myself. 

I’ve been married for twenty-six years. A mother for almost twenty-one. You’d think I would be a pro at this by now. I know what to expect. I know what to do. 

But y’all. This year when my husband and boys brought all the tubs up from the basement, I have to confess…I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to move the furniture around. I didn’t want to pack up the things that we usually leave out to make room for the Christmas decorations. I didn’t want to spend the hours it would inevitably take to make everything festive and fun. 

I knew it would be worth it. I also knew it would be exhausting. And for a few minutes, I wondered what it would be like if I didn’t do it. I mean, no one is making me. There’s no rule that says you have to decorate your entire house for Christmas. Plenty of people don’t. And those people don’t spend the weekend after Thanksgiving up to their eyeballs in garland and lights. They get to watch football and Christmas movies while drinking hot chocolate. 

Y’all. They get to take naps! Their lives are so much less stressful! 

Why did I have to be one of those people who just loves Christmas? Who just can’t stop herself from wrapping the stair bannisters in garland or buying a tree that could possibly fill in at Rockefeller Center? (Okay, not really, but it’s close!) What is wrong with me that I couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to try the latest viral TikTok and decorate a tension rod with garland and lights and sprigs of berries so I could have even more decorations? 

It was two days of work. Hard work. My back ached. My feet hurt. I was so stinking tired.

But when I finally sat down and looked at the tree, I felt such a sense of rightness. I knew that despite my whining and drama at the beginning of the process, I would have been miserable if I hadn’t done it. If I hadn’t put in the work to create something magical. And now it’s done, and we get to enjoy it for the entire season. And I know that when next year rolls around, I will do it all over again. I might even add in a few more things just because I can’t help myself. 

Now, I promise you that there was no spiked eggnog involved in what happened next. But as I sat in the glow of the twinkle lights, I had a little epiphany. 

Why Writing Books is Like Decorating for Christmas

#1. You will not fit in with everyone else. Not everyone wants to write books and that’s okay. 

#2. You will have to move things around, get rid of some things, rearrange your schedule, and even put some things off for months in order to make room for writing. 

#3. You will experience pangs of jealousy when you see other people having fun while you’re squirreled away in your writing cave living on caffeine and chocolate. 

#4. You will not always want to write. You will have days when you despair over why you are the way you are. You will wish you were wired differently and that you could just relax like a normal person. 

#5. You will try to relax like a normal person, and you might even pull it off for a while, but eventually you will be compelled to write. 

#6. You will try to be reasonable, but then you’ll have an idea for a novella or a flash fiction piece or a poetry collection and before you know it, you’ll be writing even more than you’d originally planned to.

#7. You will experience back pain, arm pain, neck pain, headaches, eye strain, and a host of other physical maladies. (These will get worse as you get older.)

#8. You will work so hard you will question all your life decisions that brought you to your present condition.

#9. You will finish your manuscript, and you will feel a sense of rightness. You will know without any doubt that writing was the right decision.

#10. You will be miserable if you don’t write, so no matter how tired you are, you’re totally going to do it all over again. 

And with that, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I can’t wait to see what we write in 2024. (But hey, if anyone wants to come over around January 6th to help me put all these decorations away, that would be great! I’m on a deadline!) 

Grace and peace,


Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing romantic suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy, but her grown-up reality is that she's a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations while she's sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas! 

Unknown Threat, the first book in her Defend and Protect series, was a 2021 Christy Award finalist and her previous titles have won the Carol Award, the Selah Award, and the Faith, Hope, and Love Reader’s Choice Award. Malicious Intent, the second book in the series, released March 2022.

She is a frequent conference speaker and has taught writers all over the country. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after by signing up for her newsletter at LYNNHBLACKBURN.COMand @LynnHBlackburn on BOOKBUB, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM.


  1. There was only one grown son close enough to enjoy it, but he didn't really care if I decorated or not. My husband didn't either. We had the reason for the holiday within our hearts. But ... then a family moved in next door to us with 5 small children under 8. We fell in love! Our grandchildren were older and far away, and these kiddos were so cute, we adopted them as grands. And they are always coming over to get Seamus to play or come in for popsicles AND the family joins uf for Christmas dinner. So I had to decorate again! I had littles again who look at the tree with wonder in their eyes! I've kept it to the great room, and it took me a week to do just that one room, but I'm enjoying it so much!

    1. I love this story. It is so neat to here how different families connect at just the right time. I think there’s a TV channel based on this.

      Tim Suddeth

  2. I can identify with your article completely. Great analogy.