First, I have to tell you the story of how I met Dianne by accident. A few years ago, her last name was Graver, and we both had sent partials to the same agent. The agent put her chapters in my envelope by mistake. I know Graver and Craver are similar, but Dianne lives in Pennsylvania and I live in Ohio plus I included a self-addressed stamped envelope for the return of my partial. BTW, I don’t do that any longer and ask the agent or editor to recycle my submission. When I opened my envelope, I was surprised to see Dianne’s submission so I contacted her. We have been online friends since, and would love to meet in person in the future.
When my Christmas book was published in 2001, Dianne immediately bought a copy. She has won numerous awards for her writing. She’s very active in her RWA chapter, Pocono Leigh Romance Writers in Pennsylvania. She has a great story in the book, A Cup of Comfort for Mothers-to-Be. Click here to learn more about Dianne!
The Holidays and Writing Through Them
By Dianne Gerber and others
Finding time to write when life is on its normal track is tough enough, but when the holidays roll around, finding just minutes and the will to put butt in chair is nearly impossible. We all get caught up in the holiday rush; there is no way of escaping it. The twenty four hours in a day bulge with the extra shopping, cleaning, cooking and baking that have to be done. Not to mention, the scheduled parties you must attend and the drop-by visitors that show up on your doorstep. But if you want to be a published author you will have to continue to work through the holidays and when you are finally achieve pub status things will not change.
How do multi-published authors do it? Out of interest I asked several published authors the question; “During the holiday season, does your writing schedule change and why or why not?” Here are their answers.
Allison Brennan: Yes, it changes somewhat. My kids are all out of school for two weeks which really cuts into my writing time for the last two weeks of December. But deadlines don’t wait, so I pay my oldest daughter to babysit the younger kids (she’s saving up to buy a car–she’s only 14, but at this rate she’ll be sitting pretty in two years!) Instead of writing five days a week from 9-3, I write two days from 10-4 (she likes to sleep in.) I also write in the evenings, which I usually only do when I’m on deadline.
WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE, an anthology on sale 12/26/07.
Merline Lovelace: Nope, I pretty much stick to the same schedule — write in the morning, play in the afternoon. That’s when I do my Christmas
shopping, emailing, addressing Christmas cards, putting up decorations, etc. I’ll take off a few days around Christmas just to get in the spirit of things. Otherwise I’m at my desk. As my husband likes to say, thank goodness for deadlines. They keep me out of the mall!
January 2008 release, Risky Business, Harlequin NEXT
Donna Wright: Not really. Because I am sooo sporadic to begin with!!! Which is bad, do as I say and not as I do!! But, all joking aside, only during the actual holidays themselves, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. I do sprints of writing and try to stay on task.
Verdict: Love–the final chapter of the Tennesse Love series now available Avalon Books
Visions of Fear–Coming soon to the Wild Rose Press
Debra Mullins: Mine certainly changes. I still have a full time job, so I do most of my writing on the weekends. During the holiday season, the weekends become full of Christmas parties, visits to relatives, and shopping. It’s really crunch time for me!
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING— February 2008 from Avon.
Stephanie Bond: “My writing schedule does change-there’s simply more to do professionally and personally as the year comes to an end. I compensate by “stealing” extra time out of the day. I get up an hour early, and combine outings (critique meeting/holiday shopping) so that I’m not constantly on the go. I shop online when possible. I also take advantage of holiday “wait” time-I write on my AlphaSmart while I’m standing in line at the post office.”
Stephanie Bond, author of the Body Movers sexy mystery series
Vicki Hinze: My schedule does change, di. Family congregates here and, like everyone else, I have more commitments than usual. So I try not to schedule deadlines that will hamper meeting those commitments and enjoying the holidays. I still work, but typically shorter hours.
Diane Chamberlain: Hi, di. With a January deadline this year, I’m afraid the holidays will simply be a blip on my radar screen. In the days when I traveled for the holidays or had lots of family over, I would simply forget about writing–as long as my deadline allowed me to do so. The past few years, though, we’ve been lucky to have all the fall and winter holidays at the homes of nearby relatives (Easter is at ours, however). I’ve had tight deadlines, so I haven’t bothered to decorate and I definitely haven’t bothered to cook. I do send out cards and a holiday letter, because staying connected to friends is very important to me. On Christmas day, after brunch at my daughter’s and watching the little ones open their gifts, my significant other–an art photographer–and I will come home and get back to work. I’m sure people think I’m suffering, working as much as I do. I love writing, though, and it’s my gift to myself to spend my time doing it.
THE SECRET LIFE OF CEECEE WILKES in paper back late December.
Terri Brisbin: My deadlines are set months ahead and, since I write to deadline, I avoid having one near the holidays….usually…if I can help it! My writing schedule consists of big gaps of research and mental percolation followed by huge binges of writing just before my deadline….and this year my next deadline is December 15th. I’ll start really writing after Thanksgiving and be done before Christmas…! Happy Holidays!
SURRENDER TO THE HIGHLANDER, 2/2008 Harlequin Historicals
Rhonda Pollero: Hi Di - great topic, btw. Answer . . . Yes! Big time. The first few years I was publishing regularly, I treated November and December like the other ten months. I forgot to factor in shopping time, school events, travel and the dreaded decorating and baking that has to be done. My ‘new’ November has only 14 days and my ‘new’ December has only 7. This way I don’t fall into the trap of having to wrap presents with one hand and type with the other. I never, ever agree to a delivery date between November 15th and January 15th if possible. That way, I get to enjoy the holidays and the stress and pressure have gone way, way down. My next release is KNOCK EM DEAD, from Kensington, March 2008. Miss the first Finley Tanner Mystery? The paperback release of KNOCK OFF is February, 2008.
Beth Cornelison: Typically during the holiday season I know I am going to be too busy with family and holiday related projects to get much writing done. In the past I’ve taken the month of December off as a writing holiday and used it to catch up on my reading, refresh my muse and rest up for a productive New Year. This year, however, I’m on a tight deadline for Silhouette, so I’ll be writing through the holiday!
HEARTS ON FIRE (working title)- Silhouette Romantic Suspense- July 2008
Robin Kawczynski a.k.a. Robin Kaye: Does my writing schedule change? Hmm, I don’t think so. I always get up at 4:30 in the morning and am writing by 5:00. I write until 7:00 when I get the kids up for school. There is absolutely nothing going on at that time in the morning so distractions are rare. I just don’t allow myself to check the e-mail until after 7:00. Any writing time I get after that, I consider gravy–it’s always dependent on doctor’s appointments, errands, life
in general and of course, deadlines. All but the essentials are cancelled until my revisions or now the first three chapters and synopsis for my next book are done. I hate having deadlines so I tend to knock the work out quickly and send it in way before it’s due. ‘Romeo, Romeo’ - 2007 Golden Heart Winner - Fall 2008 from Sourcebooks
Joy Nash: Like everything else in my life, the holiday season revolves around my next deadline. If I have a book due in January or February (as I do this year!), then I do everything possible to keep my writing schedule on track. I enlist the help of my husband and kids with decorating and gift-buying. While my pages have to get done, I do let email and promo stuff slide in order have some pre-Christmas fun with my family. This year we’re going to Radio City Music Hall! Also, the Saturday before Christmas is ALWAYS dedicated to making cookies.
DEEP MAGIC: Druids of Avalon #2 January 2008
Diane Craver: My writing schedule changes during the holiday season. I quit writing completely for a couple of weeks so I can get all the fun Christmas stuff done. Even though I love getting ready for the holiday season, I do miss writing during this time and it’s nice to get back to it.
Never the Same Samhain August 2007
Shirley Jump: Hi Dianne, My writing schedule becomes more compressed. For the past three years, I’ve had to write a Christmas book during Christmas (something that I love doing because I’m in the holiday mood already) so I’m writing like mad during the holidays. It means a lot of late nights and early days because the holidays are SO packed with activities and SHOPPING but I know it’s coming, so I can plan for it…sort of. Every year I say I won’t do it again, but I’m just as crazy the next time they ask me and say yes again.
REALLY SOMETHING, Zebra Books, December 2007
Happy Holidays and Happy Writing.
~~~This was also posted by Dianne’s chapter editor and the article on the RWA editor’s loop. Also it has been picked up by three other chapters already!
I have read many of the books by some of the authors listed in the article, but I have to mention that I read Merline Lovelace and loved several of her books. I’ll post about them later. She’s also a very nice person and several years ago gave me some submitting and writing tips.
~~~Amanda brought her report card home yesterday. It was great but I especially liked what her teacher wrote in her comments. “Amanda has shown tremendous growth in her academic, social and vocational skills so far this year. I am so proud of her!” Amanda’s happy with her straight A’s.
~~~Drawing for gently used book of winner’s choice is Dec. 1st. Click here for list!