It’s official, the Christmas season is in full swing at our house!
I’m almost finished decorating, and I’ve actually purchased and mailed one Christmas present (for me that’s way ahead of the game). I was feeling pretty good about things until I actually looked at the calendar this morning. Yikes! I’ve only got 23 days to finish everything on my list. No matter what holiday you celebrate, I’m sure you’ve had that moment of panic yourself a time or two. What is it about this time of year that pushes us to make everything perfect? Down to the right stocking stuffers and yummy smells coming from the oven, we need to give our families an amazing holiday experience to feel fulfilled every December.
But isn’t that true about writing as well? We feel the need to adjust every comma, place every period in that just-right spot, take out words, add words, rearrange words…and that’s before we ever show a story to a critique group, much less submit it to an agent or publisher. The writing life is like preparing for Christmas every day of the year. Being that perfect all the time is exhausting—and I hate to tell you this—impossible.
So how can we writers take our imperfect selves and make this holiday season one of great inspiration and productivity? By giving back. Yes, you heard right—give back. With each word you write you give something of yourself to this world. Hopefully, what you write fills others with joy, hope and the promise of a better tomorrow. What’s the use of it otherwise? But as a writer, you can also give to others in ways unique to what you do.
So for the next few weeks, turn off your computer for an hour or so, set that manuscript aside, and try these “give back” writing ideas:
- Offer to critique a writer friend’s work that you’ve never reached out to before. Not a critique exchange, just an offer of help to someone you know is struggling with a new manuscript.
- Volunteer to read books to homeless children during a Christmas party or after serving meals.
- Donate books to your public library or get your critique group together and purchase a few new books for a needy classroom or school library.
- Advertise your friend’s books to others for gift ideas. Authors need all the help they can get when it comes to selling what they’ve created.
- Help an adult or child learn to read.
Taking time away from your work to give back may feel like you’re not doing your job. But I promise you’ll get back more from the giving than you ever thought possible.
Sensibility- Writing is a gift that is unique to you. Find ways to share that gift with others this holiday season.
Sense- Work hard on your writing, but don’t forget to enjoy these days of celebration. They only come once each year, so learn to savor every moment.
What are other ways you can give back this holiday season? Share your ideas here!