Right now everyone is stressed, running here and there preparing for Christmas. Shopping, baking, cleaning, and wrapping don't leave much time for the serious business of writing. Even if you find a spare minute here and there it isn't easy to put your mind in a writing mode. So how can you make good use of those spare moments? Is it possible to be productive in bits and pieces at this time of year? Absolutely!
This is an excellent time to prepare for the writing year ahead. Everytime you have a few minutes spend them cleaning up your writing space. Clear away the clutter, throwaway the scraps of useless junk, and file away the worthwhile things to go back to later. Tidy up those files and notes. Examine your record keeping. Is it doing the job you wanted it to? If not, change it. Take inventory of your writing supplies and make a list of what is needed. Get your calendar ready for the coming year.
Analyze this years successes. How many submissions did you make? How many acceptances did you have? What was the ratio of sales to submissions? How many "good" rejections did you receive? What positive feedback did editors give you? Is this an improvement over last year? Read over the manuscripts that you sold. What makes them good? What have you learned this year?
Send for writers guidelines so that you will be prepared when you need them. Order a new market book. Make a reading list.
Begin to think about your goals for the upcoming year. What would you like to accomplish this year? What steps do you need to take to reach that goal? Do you need to take a writing course? Should you join a critique group? Put your goals in writing and break your actions down into doable steps. You can't control whether an editor will buy your work but you can control how many submissions you will have in the mail, or how carefully you revise your work, etc. You will have a better chance of reaching a goal if you know what you have to do to get there.
It is a hectic time of year, but when you find a free minute you can make it work for you. Use that time to put things in order so that when the new year gets here you can "hit the ground running".
(c) 2005 Sharon A. Soffe