Finding time to write this time of year is a tough thing, even for someone who doesn't do most holiday parties like me. There is shopping for the New Year's Eve getup, all the birthdays (for one I am flashmobbing a Taco Bell tonight, you know, like ya do), and all the normal things make it tough to keep focused on writing. Add in what most people face: holiday baking, travel, Christmas shopping, and it's a nightmare.

I would suggest my personal strategy: save up your anger and write death scenes! In short, you have to make time to write just as at any other time of year, but this will be tough now. Aim for short spurts, 20 minutes when the kids are in bed, 10 minutes when your spouse or significant other is showering, whenever you can.

The trick is to make it a treat. Here is where you save your rage: that bitch that body-checked you for the 75% off Fisher-Price toy, the neighbor's Christmas lights that can be seen from outer space shining into your bedroom, fighting to the death for the parking spot you shoveled out...save that rage, keep it!

If you have a story where a death scene is appropriate, use it. Imagine beating the offender to a bloody pulp. Don't DO it, just write it out. It's even better when you don't have a story for this. This means those 10-20 minute sessions can be very therapeutic. Write out a grisly murder or near murder, and if it gives you an idea for a full story just make quick notes to write the plot out later.

A great idea would be to write out your neighbor with the damn lights is found hanging from them, strangled, the ladder kicked out and dozens of footprints below. In the wake of his death secrets come to light: affairs, embezzlement, and it seems that his wife did it. The twist could be it was an accident, but the aftermath tears the town apart.


Or write about a vigilante who snaps and kills people who steal parking spots at the mall or shoveled out spots on city streets. Just write about the crime, save the investigation for later. Make quick notes, very simple ones, about any plot that solidifies in your mind.

Keep your sanity and keep writing. Taking a break from writing is like taking a break from a diet; getting back on track is nearly impossible. The key is not to force yourself to work on stories that may not jive with your stress level. Write little grisly, violent scenes and put them away as remainder files for later use. Just keep writing!

And if you're one of those weird psychotic people filled with merry joy this time of year...fuck off. You can write happy scenes of love, romance, and family togetherness. The rest of us will be drinking heavily, chain-smoking (if you do), and wishing death and destruction upon humanity. You know, like the great writers of old.