I know how it is. Sometimes, the holidays (starting at Black Friday, really), start to make you lose your faith in humanity. Which, for most, might not be that big an issue. I mean, everybody has to deal with people every day, but for most people, that doesn’t involve creating them. For writers, it does.
We simply cannot afford to completely lose our faith in humanity, or everything just turns into one hot mess.
And that’s what I want to talk about today.
How to survive the holidays without that happening.
Don’t let one person spoil everything
This is really the big one, if you think about it. A lot of the time, we let one person ruin everything for us. There’s one annoying person at the party, so we don’t let ourselves have a good time. There’s one angry person in the store, so we can’t think about anything but that, even though the rest of the experience was fine.
Don’t let it come to that. Don’t let someone else define your day, your month, your holiday season. Don’t let their attitude determine yours, and certainly don’t let it color your writing.
I never suggest writing when you’re angry or annoyed, primarily because the work suffers for it. So, don’t go there. Keep that smile on your face, especially now.
Don’t let anyone else define how you think
This is one of those times of year when more people than most like to tell you what they think about everything. We all have an opinion about whether it should be call the holidays, or Christmastime, whether we should have lights on our houses or not, whether we should start celebrating early or wait until after Thanksgiving (in the States, at least). We have opinions about the holidays. And you don’t have to ask for someone to start sharing.
Point is, don’t let them define how you think about this time of year, or about anything. Think for yourself. Make your own decisions. And then use those decisions to color your writing. Your writing should be all about you, not all about somebody else.
Don’t let annoying people color characters you love
I’ve had it happen, in the past, where people who reminded me of characters I’ve written, characters I love, suddenly began to annoy me. And then I allowed that annoyance to flavor that character, even though I once loved them. And because this time of year can easily turn people into annoyances, I bring it up now.
Don’t let that happen. Even if you don’t know that person, and you glance at them and they remind you of your character, and your mind is tempted to relay that annoyance onto your character, don’t let it happen.
Outside circumstances should not always be the things that flavor or color your writing. Whatever’s going on in your life right now, some of it should make it into your writing. That’s true. But, it shouldn’t be to the point that one annoying person you meet on the street changes your story.
Remember, there’re more happy people out there than there are mad or annoying ones. Trust me. I watch people all the time—I know what they’re about.
Keep your focus on those ones, and you’ll have an easier time keeping yourself and your story on track with where it wants to be.
Associate Editor, Etc.