I didn't used to keep a calendar or weekly schedule as regularly as I do now, except for the period between Thanksgiving and December 24th. When my kids were young, cleaning up after the Thanksgiving turkey feast was always accompanied by digging out a calendar on which I'd plot out the entire forthcoming four weeks. Those weeks of course contained the kids' school concerts and Christmas pageants and accompanying prep. (One of the more interesting projects involved scribbling on a wicker basket with markers for a costume accessory. Well, at least I didn't have to figure out how to clothe a shepherd.) Those weeks contained what I considered the requisite number of cookie- and candy-making sessions, each assigned a time slot to be sure they'd all fit. And need I mention tree-buying and trimming, decorating, and shopping, none of which could be done in my jammies in front of a screen in those days? And the parties and gatherings held in the workplace, the church, at family members' homes. By the time my calendar was completed, every morning, afternoon, and evening was filled. But were any of them filled with writing? Not so much.
I'm not much for a packed schedule; never have been. I am a writer, a reader, a contemplator, and a pray-er, and you can't do any of that when every minute, or even just every half-day, is jammed with activity. So, one year, I said to myself, "I am no longer willing to give up writing for the month of December. I mean, actual employed people actually work during December, don't they? So shall I."
But I had to make room in the schedule, and I actually found that pretty easy. What went out the window? The cookie-baking! I'm still good for a couple of batches of fudge and some chocolate-covered caramels, but I love making those, and I do it when a desire to putz quietly in the kitchen comes over me. I've also streamlined the shopping and simplified the decorating, but the big difference came with dumping the cookie-baking, which was more a chore than anything else. I guess the bottom line is that I do only the prep I enjoy doing for itself.
And I write during December. Yeah, it probably helped that I was on deadline when I made the "I will write in December" vow. But my new, good habits lasted, and I enjoy the entire holiday season more now.
Of course, it's not only Thanksgiving through New Year's that can derail one's writing. Summer is another time that can speed by with little to show for it, literarily speaking. Do you have periods during the year when your writing gets crowded out? Have you found a solution? Care to share?