To write or not to write during the holidays? That is the question. If you’re like me, and you do at least some writing for a living, then the answer is obvious. You’ve gotta keep writing even if the Christmas tree now sits where your writing desk used to be. If writing is something you squeeze in between dinner and bedtime anyway, then adding holiday parties and school Christmas programs into the mix may put the squeeze on your writing time.

So, how do you decide whether to write or not during the holidays? And if you do, how do you find the time? Here are a few suggestions.

Determine the current state of your writing life.

Are you exhausted, burnt out, overloaded, and the thought of trying to squeeze writing into an already busy holiday season feels like more than you can handle? Then maybe the best gift you can give yourself this year is a season of not writing … and not feeling bad about it.

On the other hand, if you’re exhausted, burnt out, and overloaded, but the only thing keeping you going is the thought of one hour alone with your laptop, then give yourself the gift of figuring out this writing thing over the holidays. A few hours of writing just might be the thing to get you in the holiday spirit.

So you’ve decided to write, now what?

First things first. Look ahead at the calendar and determine your best bet for writing. Will the hoopla end for you once the kids are out of school? Or maybe once the grandkids go back home on December 26? Do you an extra day off from work since Christmas is on a Sunday? Or are you the only morning person in your family? Look at your calendar, think about your daily routines, consider the extra people that might be hanging around your house this season, and then pencil in … no, make that pen in … a few times when you can sneak away to write.

But what will you work on during those times?

Do you have a deadline looming? Well, there’s your answer. Is there a project you’ve been working on that could benefit from a few random writing sessions? Take some time now before you get too busy to plan out some specific tasks that you could work on in short bursts later.

Or, if the holiday season has you distracted and scattered, maybe try simply journaling about your activities or describing the scene at your home after the grandkids arrived or writing some spiritual reflections based on the Christmas Eve service at your church. You call also spend time brainstorming or planning your next writing project, jotting down ideas and thoughts about what you’ll write once the busy season is over.

The main thing to remember during the holidays is that these are “holy days,” special times set aside for worship, reflection, and connecting with others. Even if you decide you will write during this season, don’t worry too much if you don’t get much accomplished or can’t get to the laptop as often as you’d like. Enjoy the season, get extra rest, spend time with family, drink lots of eggnog, and ring in the New Year with gusto. The writing will be waiting for you when things settle down.

For more tips and inspiration for writing during the holidays, check out the following posts from around the web: