Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tis the season....

by: Joelle Charbonneau

Yikes! There are gifts to buy and packages to wrap. Cookies to bake and a toddler too excited to nap. I have trees to trim and trips to the post office to make. Oh and did I mention the gingerbread houses to bake? It’s the holiday season which is sparkly and bright. And in the middle of it all, I have to find time to write!

Two years ago, I wasn’t under deadline. My first book was under contract. The option book was written and waiting for submission. And for some strange reason, I decided to write book three. Stranger still, I made the choice to finish writing the book during the holidays. My reasoning was that if I wanted to become a multi-contract author, I should be able to be productive at any time. Which meant no matter how many halls needed to be decked or bells needed to be jingled, I should be able to crank out the pages.


That plan didn’t go so well. Did I get writing done? Sure. Did I finish that book during the holiday season? Yeah, right. Instead of making myself jolly with pages galore, I frustrated myself during a season filled with joy and love and lots and lots of to-do lists. Needless to say, the book was finished in January—long before the contract for it and the deadline for delivery appeared. But though my attempt to write during the holidays stressed me out, it made it glaringly apparent that I never want to write during the holidays again. Last year, I managed to time the completion of MURDER FOR CHOIR to coincide with the first week of December. Score! I then celebrate the holidays by baking, wrapping and going on a serious reading binge.

Talk about Joy to the world!

Sadly, this year didn’t work out so well. I am halfway through my current work in progress and while it isn’t due until months and months into the New Year, I kind of want to get to the end. I mean, I need to know who done it! Not to mention, I have a few other book ideas I’d like to play with. (Yeah—I can’t help myself!)

However, the one thing that I learned from my last foray into holiday writing is that I should be grateful for every page that I write during this crazy time of year. But more important, I need to be grateful for the time I don’t have to write—the time I spend with my family and friends. While getting those pages written is important, the people who I love and who love me are more important still. So I will sit and type when I can and when those bells need to be jingled I’ll put aside the computer and have a blast jingling them.


  1. Joelle, I feel your pain. I have a book due ever 12/31 so I'm usually writing while entertaining, wrapping, yelling, decorating...you get the idea. Good luck with your deadline. I have vowed that I will be done by this time next week. We'll see how that goes. Maggie

  2. Maggie - good luck with your deadline! I know you'll hit it and make it look easy:) (This is a skill I totally covet!)

  3. Joelle, my mysteries were always due in early January, as soon as my editor was back from holiday. I was writing Little Black Dress last year through Thanksgiving but did finish the first draft before Christmas (how lucky that was!). I'm already late for my latest deadline, which was December 1. Here's hoping I'm finished by mid-January. I feel like I should start celebrating Christmas in June. Then I might actually have gifts bought, tree up and decorated, cards written and mailed, cookies baked, and holiday gatherings coordinated instead of telling myself, "I'll do it right next year." ;-) Have fun with your family through the holidays! You're right that every moment spent with them is precious.

  4. You guys are hilarious. I'm on overload, and I'm not even writing a book. I assume the due date has something to do with the projected publication date? Happy holidays with your loved ones.

  5. Joelle, have fun with your family and good luck with your work in progress!
    Happy Holidays!!


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