The last-minute scrambling?
The late-night pizza and Mountain Dew fueled explorations into complex topics that, when illuminated by morning and a couple hours of sleep, failed to retain that brilliant, panic-enhanced hue?
And then handing in something you feared might just be garbage?
You would have thought we’d have learned. But here we are, a couple of weeks from Christmas, madly surfing Amazon for gift ideas and tossing the decorations at the tree with Whoville efficiency.
How does this happen every year?
If you are a writer, or anyone else who works with deadlines, this time of year can be especially sleep-deprived. And it doesn’t help much that it’s now dark before dinner. Suddenly 5:00 feels like 10:00, and I spend a significant portion of my day dedicated to yawning. And I wasn’t there, but I’m relatively sure that when the gods of the work calendar congregated to decide how long we should have to accomplish any given task, they began with a blank calendar. If a job is to take three weeks, it should take three weeks in December just like it would in May.
Not so much. At least if you have a life.
So here I am, typing like mad, editing my next novel in the Portrait of Grace series like a fiend, while attempting to keep in mind that there is more to life than deadlines.
And there is. Christmas happens once a year, and it might be sappy, but it’s my favorite. I love the lights, the tree, buying presents, baking cookies, Saturday afternoons wrapping gifts, waiting for snow, singing carols, hot chocolate…everything. I love everything about this time of year.
But working on a deadline during the holidays means I must be intentional about enjoying the things that take me away from my work. So this year, I’ve created a “must do” list in an attempt to keep my sanity while I complete my edits and bake cookies.
- See a live show. Not one that the kids put on, but a real-life, grown-up, live show.
- No baking after 10:00 pm.
- Enjoy the kid’s programs. (Go ahead and call me a lousy parent, but trying to get everyone corralled on a week night and then sitting for hours on bleachers makes it easy to forget the magic of watching a group of nervous kids as they do their best to spread holiday cheer.)
- Find a Netflix series to get sucked into on present wrapping day.
- Sing all the Christmas songs (except “Last Christmas.” Never sing that one. BTW, the radio should stop playing it too).
- Take evening drives to other neighborhoods, just to see the lights.
- Donate time.
- Involve the kids in the decision to donate that time.
- After the kids go to bed, turn off all the lights except the tree, and then sit next to it to read a few lines from that book on the bottom of the “to read” pile. Try to do this every night.
- Don’t forget to buy batteries.
Undoubtedly, I have missed something. What’s on your list?
About Cara Luecht
Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Cara has three published novels: Soul Painter (2015 Selah Award Finalist), Soul’s Prisoner (a sequel to Soul Painter), and Gathered Waters (2016 Selah Award Winner). Her fourth novel, Devil in the Dust, is scheduled to release in April, 2017 (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). Soul Painter and Soul’s Prisoner will also be joined by a third novel in the series, Soul’s Cry, in 2017 (WhiteFire Publishers).