Monday, 26 December 2011

Start Jotting for Christmas 2012.

Happy Boxing Day!

To paraphrase a line from a Christmas nursery rhyme, Christmas is over and we're all getting fat, so thinking about Christmas 2012 might not be at the top of your agenda today. However, the writer in you should be busy jotting down notes.

Many of you are aware that magazines start preparing their Christmas issues as early as June, however, it can be difficult sitting in a heatwave, trying to think about Christmas. The trick is to take out your notebook and make notes now. Go on! Shift your bottom from your comfy chair - you don't really need to be slumped in front of the television watching the repeat of yesterday's Eastenders or Coronation Street.  And you don't need to worry about the children, because they're still playing with the cardboard boxes yesterday's toys came in.

Grab your notebook and pen, and jot down all you see, smell, hear, taste and feel. All you need are bullet points, although if you want to write more, then go for it. Things to consider are:

  • Advent calendars
  • The Nativity
  • Christmas trees
  • The spicy aroma of Mulled wine
  • Christmas lights
  • Mince Pies
  • Mistletoe
  • Wrapping paper
  • Mess!
  • An elderly relative snoring ... in front of the Queen
  • Turkey
  • More Turkey
  • Eggnog
  • Children arguing
  • More Turkey
  • Chocolates
  • The Queen's Speech
  • Candles
  • The snap of Christmas crackers
  • The groan at the so-called joke inside it
  • Carols
  • Midnight Mass
  • Even More Turkey
  • and so on....
It's far easier to make these notes whilst everything is in front of your eyes, nose and ears. See how much you can jot down in ten minutes. Ten minutes of notes now will save you so much time next June!

Have your camera to hand too. If you have any top tips for stuffing a turkey, take a photo now, while you're stuffing it. It'll be much more difficult to take a photo in June! Likewise, if you're writing a travel article about visiting a destination at Christmas, get out now and take photos of that place with the Christmas lights and decorations all up. Take photos of the Christmas shop windows displays.

A little preparation now, will come in immensely useful later in 2012 when you begin thinking about articles and short story ideas for next Christmas. And if you suddenly find yourself drafting the first version of your article or short story, even better! Put the draft aside for a couple of months, and let the editing begin when the decorations have been taken down, and the New Year Resolutions long forgotten.

Now you can put your feet up and relax, smug in the knowledge that you're prepared. All that's left to do is start tackling that teetering pile of Turkey sandwiches.

Good luck!


  1. Great advice, Simon.

    Merry Boxing Day to you!

    Julie xx

  2. I bought a proper Christmas Planner this year. Originally it was to get organised but it has now turned into a lovely journal. It's great as I have already crammed it with ideas and memories from this year. It may well come out in the summer if I want to write about this time of year. Lovely pictures Simon!

  3. As a novelist, I'm ahead of you, Simon. I wrote the first chapter of my 2012 Christmas title two months ago. Now all I have to do is write the other 95,000 words.

    Season's best to you and your family.