Thirteen days and counting till the biggest gift giving day of the year for most of the world. As we get nearer and nearer to the holidays, most of us become frazzled, harried, and rushed trying to get it all done. Still, we need to make time for what's important to us, whether that's family, friends, or writing.
As writers, we sometimes feel guilty that we don't get enough writing done during this hectic season. What we can do, however, is carve out small snippets of time. As special events occur, keep a notebook handy. Jot down your two year old's words of exclamation as she opens her Christmas gift. Last year, she was too young to know what was happening. This year, opens a new world for her. Listen, take notes, or remember the words if your great aunt has a story to tell of survival - maybe the Depression, maybe the Holocaust. Sitting around the table at a holiday dinner gives you an opportunity to learn about your older family members. If you can't deal with a paper and pen because your hands are full of cookie dough, keep a small tape recorder handy. Push a button and record those memories.
While now may not be the time to sell a holiday story, keep your notes handy and in a couple of months be prepared to write, write, write. Those cute words of exclamation could end up as filler in a parenting magazine. Your aunt's story may be fodder for a memoir, novel, or short story. You may not have time to write now, but your notes will come to your aid after the holidays. Get up fifteen minutes early or go to bed fifteen minutes later to record your thoughts. These small snippets of time will get you through the holidays without feeling guilty.