As someone who works from her home, I have to really work hard to schedule my time. Especially around the holidays, I have to be careful to schedule my writing hours to get things done but to also take important time off for family and friends. I’ve learned to ask for deadlines in book contracts by mid-December and not mid-January. If a book deadline is in mid-January, I’ve found I can’t set the project aside mentally, and I tend to stress out over the holidays.
So this year, when I signed a contract in September for a new book for Libraries Unlimited, I asked for a deadline of December 15. And right now on my desk is a new book contract to sign for next year with Chicago Review Press. Once again, I asked for a December 15th deadline. It will give me time to finish up each book and still have plenty of energy and enthusiasm to enjoy the Christmas holidays.
I don’t ever want to neglect my family during the holidays or put my writing commitments ahead of spending time with them. Once I read in interview of A.A.Milne’s son. (A.A.Milne wrote the Winnie the Pooh books.) His son seemed resentful of how writing took his dad away from him. Another time I read about how Norman Rockwell was so into his painting that even on major holidays he would disappear into his studio to work. I don’t want to do this. My family will always be more important than any writing project, and I want to let them know this. That’s why I try to schedule deadlines early enough to let me truly enjoy the holidays with them.