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30 Day Writing Project, Day 19 – Writing Barriers

Christmas, social events and summertime New Zealand are providing challenges to my daily writing regime.

Many people pointed out to me the pitfalls of attempting a writing project in December. I didn’t listen, maybe I should have. If I had listened though, I wouldn’t now be over half way through my e-book for kids. Starting is a good thing. I confess, I may not finish the project in 30 days as planned, but a substantial amount of the first draft will be written by the end of the month.

Goal setting should be part of any writer’s life. Goals help keep me on task. I never considered all the potential barriers to writing at this time of the year – Christmas season being the most obvious. No, I thought, I won’t be affected. The season itself hasn’t been a problem so far, but running out of energy because of increased end of year activities is becoming a problem. I’m worn out and creativity doesn’t flow so well when you’re tired.

One barrier I never considered though and neither did any of my readers, is the problem of heat. Come on, I can hear many of you saying, this is December, winter, how can heat be a problem? I live in New Zealand where summer has hit with full force. I’m just not used to it. All I feel like doing on a hot summer day is sitting with a cool glass of water or fruit juice and reading the work of someone else, not creating my own.

Increased social activity is also a problem for would-be writers at this time. After having a low profile all year, many people want to catch up before Christmas. I could say no, but I do view some contacts as potential purchasers of any published work, so I prefer to network as much as possible. My first book, a 1950s school memoir is currently with the publisher and will be released late February. I therefore need to continue keeping my writing upper most in people’s minds.

Call the Christmas season and summer excuses if you like. That’s what I’m doing. Excuses to slow down a little and write when I’m able and when it is pleasurable to do so. I’m still committed to my project and will continue writing. I just won’t be beating myself up because I’m not proceeding as quickly as planned.

Don’t let December and Christmas be an excuse to stop writing altogether. Do continue writing as often as you’re able, but forget about any guilt feelings you may have about not being as committed as usual. Time spent relaxing a little will enable you to keep those words and ideas rolling when you most need them to.

As for summer, I’m sure none of you feel sorry that I’m having to endure warmer temperatures than usual during December. Of all the setbacks so far, this wasn’t one I expected.

Other writing by Val Mills:

Poinsettia: The Story of The Christmas Flower

1950s School Memoir at The Publishers

The First Christmas on New Zealand Shores

Pohutukawa, Native Tree of New Zealand

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