Our Bouts of Writing…Around the Holidays

A guest post by Cristina Dimen

If you’re like my muse and me, writing consumes you. Unless you write, your day is incomplete—as if your purpose is on hold. And during those moments when an overly busy day takes a toll and you’re too exhausted to craft your story—you’re saddened that you’re unable to paint your screen with vibrant prose.

If you’re like us, you find that life often gets in the way of your desire to just plop yourself in a comfy chair and start typing that article. You’ve become adept at juggling—family life, work, volunteering, Tweeting, etc.

Yet, writing around the holiday season requires skill at executing a more complicated juggling routine. After all, you have to shop and wrap gifts, plan a menu or bake something scrumptious for your hosts, prepare your home for guests and deck your halls with more than just boughs of holly. Don’t forget…write. Squeeze it in.

My muse and I reveled in our first-ever visit to Camp NaNoWriMo last month. Like every year, prior commitments occupied our list, but we took the plunge, anyway. Yes, 30 days/nights of writing!

On our fourth day at camp, we realized that our moments there would be fleeting—cut short by parenting duties, volunteering, freelance work and Thanksgiving holiday preparations. Nonetheless, we joined our peers in virtual fashion—capturing thousands of words that’d been swirling around our heads, begging to be immortalized on screen.

With cups of freshly brewed Hazelnut an arm’s reach away, we glued ourselves to our keyboard, tapping away in “literary abandon” NaNoWriMo style. However, tasks began to pile up. My creative partner and I resorted to sneaking off in the middle of the night, and awakening during predawn hours—eagerly tapping at the keyboard.

We bid camp adieu right before Thanksgiving. Like little kids who longed to stay, play and collaborate with the other campers committed for the duration—my fingers defiantly lingered on the keyboard, wanting more time. Reluctantly, we put the makings of our debut novel to sleep—moving on to planning December’s activities. Bye, NaNoWriMo.

We continued to write…submitting articles to print and online venues and blogged, Tweeted and shared. We received a delightful mid-November email: “Cristina, would you like to attend a press event?” After perusing the details and checking the family calendar thrice to confirm nothing conflicted with the event, my RSVP floated through Cyberspace. Yes—my +1 and I are attending a culinary tasting event. Hmmm…what to wear? Add “check closet” to list. 

Canopies of reds and yellows lined our urban streets, as crisp, cool December air greeted Manhattan. Holiday shopping ensued. During one such trip, I heard, “Mom, when can we get our tree?” And, “Please don’t tell, but I’m Secret Santa to ___. Can you go with me to get her gift?” More shopping? Must write. When?

With so much going on, how’s a writer mom supposed to…well…write? This question plagues my muse and me incessantly. And, when we find ourselves short on actual writing time, we watch our surroundings more intently—observing scenes unfold before us. We’re “partially” content—knowing this action is part of the creative process.

While waiting for our bus, flocks of pigeons engage in their synchronized dance—flying to one patch of the sky, stopping, then circling off to another. We look for the man with salt-pepper locks peeking from under his brown woolen hat, and wonder which coat the brunette with her Gucci satchel will be sporting as she boards ahead of us, her face half-buried in another novel.

On our ride home, my muse is anxious to start weaving the morning’s scenes, which I’ve typed onto my phone notepad—into an article. So am I. With the kids in school and my husband at work, we itch to begin another literary adventure—until duties call, of course.

Cristina Dimen and her muse blog and write about travel, lifestyle and parenting. They are currently crafting their debut novel. As founder of Editorial Creatives, a Manhattan-based editorial services company, she works with various online and traditional print publications, such as New York Family magazine. Check out her blog, Creative Musings  and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo credit: cancsajn



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