Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Tips for Being a Domestic Writer-Goddess at Christmas

Feeling stressed? Tearing your hair out, wondering how on earth you’re going to get everything ready for Christmas without completely neglecting the novel? Well read on, because a few of the Novelistas have some tips for staying calm over the holiday period...

Annie Burrows: “My first tip is get online if you can and order your big Christmas shop from your favourite supermarket, and get them to deliver it to your home. I know some of them charge up to a fiver for this – but think of all the time you save queuing, and trying to find a parking space, and getting soaked (because it always seems to pour with rain when the only parking space is at the furthest corner of the supermarket car park). And yes, there may be one or two items that don't arrive, but then they wouldn't have been on the shelves if you'd gone to get them yourself, so you would still have had to go to the corner shop for the cranberry sauce/hovis/holly-sprigged loo rolls.

And it's Christmas - you deserve to treat yourself!”

And your second tip, Annie? “Don’t take on extra blogging!”

June Francis: “In the run-up to Christmas, I find it's best to give one day over to writing. I can concentrate on the characters and plot that way, and the next day think about and do Christmassy things.”

Valerie-Anne Baglietto: “I start all my shopping weeks in advance so there's not masses of last minute stuff. Then, once the kids are off school for the holidays, I accept that I won’t get any writing done so I make the most of enjoying family time instead. Of course, as I said in a previous post, the writing muscle is always at work, so even while I'm busy baking Christmas cookies with the kids (because I always seem to turn into Mary Berry at this time of year) I can't hold back the plot twists and ideas that insist on swirling through my head. So my final tip: ALWAYS keep a notebook and pen handy... on the kitchen counter, by the stash of nuts on the sideboard that never seem to get shelled, or even under the Christmas tree."

Louise Marley: "My advice would be to not even try! Make sure all your deadlines have been met and then give yourself over to organising Christmas. If you try to do everything you'll be the one going crackers. Enjoy spending time with your family and keep a notebook handy to write down any ideas. Somewhere round about 3.00 pm on Christmas Day you'll find the kids have disappeared to play with their new toys and everyone else has nodded off. You now have the choice between the washing up or turning those ideas into a story. Don't disappoint me!"

Johanna Grassick: “Like Valerie-Anne, I can’t get much done once everyone’s home, so I suggest you regard it as time for filling the well of creativity. Watch lots of films, read lots of books, spend time catching up with friends and family – it’s all ‘research’ for plots and characters! If you're really brave, you could try getting up early and getting an hour's work in while everyone else is in bed. It's better than nothing and it keeps the book ticking over in your mind.”

Happy Christmas from the Novelistas!

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