The December Writing Struggle

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Me, with a torn leg tendon. Gotta tough it out. Or not.

You have heard that people are creatures of habit.

I knew people who used to have a cigarette and a cup of coffee at certain intervals throughout the day. It was a habit. Get to work, pour a cup of coffee. Finished lunch, have a cigarette.

I had habits like that too. Not smoking, but running.

Every time I would go in the workout room and start lifting weights and doing my thing, the closer it came time to get on the treadmill, the more good ideas I got for my story.

In fact, sometimes I would sit down and bang out a whole chapter rather than run.

(Running is not something I enjoy doing, it’s something I enjoy having done.)

That tree doesn’t put itself up!

Now, I mention this because everybody’s schedule gets really out of whack during the holidays. Friends come in from out of town, or relatives; you’re going out and buying presents and decorating. Writing time will be traded for shopping time, or Christmas party time.

Don’t worry about it.

It’s December, very little gets done in December as far as writing goes.

Just realize that any progress is progress. You’ll find out in January your routine kind of goes back to what it was and you’ll be all set to be a productive writer again.

Unless you don’t, in which case you’re fucked, but these distractions affect all aspects of writing. Editing, marketing decisions, you name it. I have a lot more distractions this year. My daughter is about to have two or three weeks off school! That hasn’t happened for a while. Don’t expect much to get done during that!

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My little cutie in a moment of non-destructiveness. Actually, that’s not true. A second before she pulled my chin stubble, which is why I’m holding her hand here. (Her fingers are pinched between my thumb and knuckles.)

Worse than that, as some of you are aware, I tore a tendon in my leg. It’s a little tiny baby tendon (longinus plantarus) and you only have to stay off it for a couple days and then you pretty much good as new—but as a runner, I had to bench myself for a few weeks!

Which, as I just explained, running—or the threat of getting on the treadmill—was where some of my best ideas came from.

Not having to worry about getting on the treadmill has caused me to not have as much writing creatively as I would normally have.

Plus it’s December and I have all distractions every else has with relatives coming in from out of town and going to parties.

And chocolate. There’s lots more chocolate around her and Christmas. I don’t mind that particular distraction.

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No, I don’t dye my hair. (Who’d make their hair that color on purpose?)

Anyway, rest assured of this one thing: It’s all going to get back in order in January sometime.


So, do what you can for the rest of December, and make a note for yourself next year that this is just how it works. Don’t get down on yourself.


Unless you get to January 15th and you’re still not writing. Then, yeah, put a foot in your own behind.


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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

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International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

39 thoughts on “The December Writing Struggle

    1. It’s not a beard, it’s just stubble – that’s the style, a few days’ growth. The problem is, I think about 1 in 100 or less hairs on my head are gray. Look at that picture – I don’t dye my hair. It has maybe 1 gray hair for every 300 brown hairs. But in the stubble/beard, about HALF of the hair is gray! What the hell is up with that? And I don’t even like the stubble that much, it just helps define my jaw line and hides a lbs I’ve gained not running. I’m used to how I look without stubble. But if it’s gonna be gray, I’m not sure I like it that much. I’m tempted to shave it off every morning.

  1. Great advice 😁 I incidentally don’t run anywhere, for anyone, so I applaud anyone who does. My inspiration comes whilst walking miles with a hyperactive Jack Russell 😊
    Have a fab Christmas x

  2. I know the struggle. It’s been so bad in the past that I usually take a writing hiatus in December, of course this year refuses to allow it, go figure. haha

  3. So as the holidays crept up on me this year, I started getting up two hours earlier than normal. grins. It’s been really good, too, until today. This morning I got up as tired as I went to bed, not a good sign on my longest day of my week schedule wise. bleh.

  4. Like workouts, something is better than nothing.

    Sorry about your tendon problems. I’ve been suffering from a stiff neck for the past few months, which makes writing a literal pain in the neck. PT has made a huge difference, but I have had to change my writing habits because I can only hunch over the laptop for so long before I’m stiff again.

    1. I’ve done the neck thing too … 4 weeks of it and no sign of going … but hey I’m so much older than most of you … grey hairs I’d just like some of any hue! … and like most of you now surrendering with good grace to Christmas and family (as if I have a choice!).

  5. I am not a runner, that is unless I am being chased by bears, in which case I will run, but just until I can distract the bear with the contents of a trash can or slower / less cut-throat victim. Perhaps it is best I don’t go into the woods often.

    Regarding December writing, I was doing awesome up until my son announced that there were less than ten days until Christmas.

  6. Hilarious as usual! Yup, I’d say it’s chaos around here. My writing has suffered for my book while I’m trying to sort out my life away in 2 weeks and drafting blog posts and dealing with the usual unexpected crap. But I managed to bang out 2000 words today in my book and between that and the great reception I received on your blog post, I’m pretty stoked! Happy holidays Dan to you and yours 🙂

  7. I read your post first thing this morning like I usually do, but I’m only getting around to commenting on it now. Tis the season…

    Like most everyone else, I think I should just give in to the fact that noting productive is going to happen between now and Christmas.

    Anyone want to join me to bake cookies?

  8. I have written more this December than any other but have done no walking (running causes problems with tendons) and must get back outside for vitamin D if nothing else. Lovely family.

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