The holidays are fast approaching! In this episode, learn SEVEN ways to use writing to unwind during the holiday season, or any time of the year for that matter!
Have fun listening to me stumble over a couple words, too. Hey, I’m only human!
Links and things mentioned in this episode:
- Get your very own 7 Ways to Use Writing to Unwind Workbook with seasonal Toucan20 trackers
- Please review me on Apple podcasts. I’d love to have 10 ratings/reviews by the end of the year!
Intro and outro music from Uppbeat (free for Creators!): https://uppbeat.io/t/hartzmann/clear-sky
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Transcripts are created by Descript. Please forgive any spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors!
Welcome to yet another bonus episode of the podcast. Three episodes in one week, I’m on fire. Here’s a really funny story. So one time I texted my sister, that I was on fire after pitching to agents at a writing conference and getting requests for full manuscripts and my nephew, Logan, who was pretty young saw the text, woke my sister up. She’s two hours behind in Alaska and whispered, “I think auntie Claire’s house is on fire.”
Poor little tike didn’t know what it meant to be metaphorically on fire.
Okay. Onto the main purpose of this bonus episode. I figured on the tail end of the plan for anything to get in your way episodes, plus the guilt of taking time off episode, I would talk to you today about writing through the holidays. Because maybe you don’t want or need to take time off. Maybe you have a sweet streak going since episode two when you learned about Toucan20 and you don’t want to break it.
Maybe like me writing is your escape from reality, something you look forward to, especially when you’re stressed.
Whatever your reason for not taking time off during this time of year I present to you today.
Seven ways to use writing to unwind during the holidays or any stressful period of time in your life.
#1 Escape to your fictional world.
Escape from holiday stress or dysfunctional family gatherings by immersing yourself in your fictional world, cavort around with your characters, write them into worse situations than you’re currently dealing with. Remember that old adage that no matter how bad off you feel you are, someone else out there is far worse off than you?
Make your characters worse off than you, and maybe it’ll make you feel better about whatever your situation around this time of year may be.
Set aside 20 minutes every day to “touch the ball.” So, I thought I stole this phrase from basketball, but I’m not actually sure where it came from. I did a quick search on the internet and couldn’t really find it anywhere. So, by touching the ball, I mean, open up your manuscript or your notebook or, or your stone tablet. And add a sentence, add a word, write a little summary of the next scene or a future scene you want to write, find a place holder that needs more research and check some resources.
Do something to keep from losing your momentum, even if you can’t write for a solid 20 minutes. Touch the ball and keep your mind in the game. The game of course, is your story.
#2 Write what you’re grateful for.
Writing three things you are grateful for, or that went well in your day, is a great way to destress, unwind, and ultimately feel good inside. It’s a way to focus more on the positive aspects of your life or your day, and move beyond the things that might not have gone so well or things that are affecting you negatively.
According to mindful.org. Gratitude can make you feel more satisfied with life and boost your self-esteem. It can also lessen feelings of depression among other things.
#3 write thank you notes.
Thank you notes or like gratitude lists, but for other people. Not only do they make the other people feel good. But they typically bring about this really lovely feeling inside for you too. Write thank you. Notes to others. Not only if they gave you a gift, but also to tell them you’re grateful that they are in your life or are your friend.
Maybe it’s a quick note just to tell them that they’re great.
You could even write a thank you note to Old Musty, you know, your current manuscript, telling it why you are grateful for it.
Write thank you notes to your characters. Write thank you notes from your characters to yourself. Get crazy!
#4 Journal about your day.
Journaling is a great way to unwind either before your day begins or at the end of your day, you can essentially dump out your brain and all the things taking up space in your mind onto paper. If you want, you can even burn the paper to help you let things go if your brain dump is too negative.
#5 Do some daydreaming.
Okay, this one might be a little out there, but it could also be really fun. Write a fictional holiday letter about you and your family, but write it as if you are a bestselling author.
Or add some genre fun to it. Are you a family of vampires now? Did one of you get bitten by a werewolf? Did your dog turn into a dragon overnight, and now you’re dealing with the red tape and bureaucracy of keeping an illegal creature under your roof?
Maybe you’re single and you stumbled into that cute guy from high school, and he’s also single. Perhaps your holiday letter is all about how much you hate him. But also, how much you love him. I obviously do not write romance.
Alternately write holiday letters as if you are your characters. What might they say to let their families know how their year has been? What resolutions are they looking forward to getting started on what goals do they have for the new year?
#6 Write lists.
One of the key things I learned from my mom, among many things that is, writing lists. She has lists for everything. She’s one of the most organized people I know. Writing lists will help you with any feelings of overwhelm you might have.
One of the best ways to beat overwhelm during any time of the year ,or a week, or day sometimes for me, is to write down all the things you need and want to do. Then either prioritize which things are most important, or start picking off the smaller, easy to accomplish things first.
When you start checking those little things off, you’ll be even more motivated and inspired to keep checking things off your list.
#7 Write a letter to yourself.
Number seven, this one is my all time favorite one. Okay.
Write a letter to your future self.
Ever since 2020. I have written a letter to myself on my birthday every year. I seal it in an envelope and write, “Open on that same day, the following year.” My birthday.
It’s so much fun to look back at who I was, and what was on my mind, and what goals or dreams I had the year before, to see how it aligns with what I’m feeling and thinking and dreaming of the following year.
Or to see if I accomplished any of those goals and dreams.
You can do this anytime of year. But perhaps with the new year right around the corner, it could become a tradition for you in December.
Write a letter to your future self with your plans for the coming year. Seal it in an envelope and write, “open on today’s date one year from now.”
Be sure you put it somewhere where you won’t forget about it. I always put mine on my desk where I can see it almost every day.
The challenge will be not to open it until the date you wrote on the envelope. It’s so tempting to take a peek, but don’t give in.
Don’t forget about Toucan20!
Finally, use Toucan20 to your advantage. Toucan20 isn’t only for writing. You can use it to knock out some of those tasks on your list from number six.
What other ways can you think of to use writing to unwind during the stressful time or any stressful time?
I for one love to escape to my fictional world and cavort around—you know, I keep having a problem saying worlds because I have worlds and cavort in the same sentence. And I read And so it comes Just completely wrong. Okay.
I like to escape to my fictional worlds and cavort around with my characters for a bit. It makes me happy and it keeps me sane. And oftentimes I use any strong emotions I might be feeling at any given point to fuel my writing.
And don’t forget about, I know I already said the Toucan20 method, but specifically for writing on days when you have time to write, but you’re too drained or brain dead or unmotivated or distracted or stressed, to write, set your timer and write anyway.
Sometimes our most unmotivated days, are our best writing days.
I have a little workbook that goes along with this episode, that includes a few holiday themed Toucan 20 trackers go in snag it at YouCanToucan.com/seasonsgreetings. I’ll link to it in the show notes.
If you ever have any questions about the content of the podcast or something you read on my website or in my newsletter or questions about writing, time management, project management, anything really!
Even if you just want to send me a comment with words of praise or gratitude even, like my dad does, I have a question submission form.
I’d love to be able to answer some listener questions on the air or read some listener comments, simply go to YouCanToucan.com/questions. There’s a link in the show notes of every episode.
So that’s all for this little bonus episode, I’ll see you in a few days with your regularly scheduled programming.
Oh, and one last thing.
Thank you so much for listening. I am grateful for you. And the time you use to listen to my podcast.
Set your timer. Go write.
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Claire L. Fishback
Author coach, project manager, published author, amazing wife, dog mom, artist, twin, and your host and guide to discovering your path to the writing life of your dreams!
Youcan the Toucan