Sunday, December 19, 2010

Introvert's Holiday Survival Guide

Tis that season again, the season where introverts everywhere must dig deep to find the energy needed to survive the holiday--or pray they get snowed in!

In an effort to give you some tools to survive the holidays, I am re-posting our Introvert Holiday Survival Guide! 

1. Find a quiet spot in your day, even if it is just for five minutes, and allow yourselves to just be…still, calm, centered. At least for five minutes. A true gift to yourself.

2. Tell everyone you’re going Christmas shopping, but instead indulge in an hour alone with a warm, soothing drink as your only company. No, it's not being selfish; you will have more energy and heart to deal with all your holiday demands if you take care of yourself! Trust us on this.

3. Give yourself some time this holiday—even just fifteen minutes—to do some writing or dream or make big plans for the coming year.

4. If your time is too frazzled to actually make progress on your manuscript, consider personal journaling or maybe even character journaling. Journaling your character's thoughts and feelings can be a great way to stay connected to your WIP without having to actually produce pages. In fact, one of my favorite writing exercises one year was this: Choose a character you’re currently working on and write his or her Christmas wish list.

5. Don’t forget ear plugs. They can be a lifesaver. Especially when the TV is blaring, the kids are playing too loudly, or the snow-blower is going down the street.

6. Don’t forget to plot—plot for a few hours solitude, plot for a quick escape, plot to get everyone to leave early. . .

7. Naps! Either a long luxurious two hour nap where you sleep hard enough to get bed head, or quick refreshing pick-me-up of a 20 minute cat nap, allow yourself a luxury of a nap. Special Perk: Writer + nap = work. (Or at least, that’s what I’ve managed to convince my family.)

8. A plea on behalf of all the introverted children out there in the world—for introverted children, having to get up in Santa’s lap and TALK to this perfect stranger, usually IN FRONT OF other perfect strangers can be the six year old equivalent of public speaking.

9. Fill your holiday well by doing the things that make your holiday feel complete and yours. Remember, this is not self-indulgence, it’s self-preservation. It’s also a way to honor the spirit of the holidays in a way that has personal significance for you. Better yet if it is something that no one else really cares for: a local production of The Nutcracker, Watching Love Actually (my favorite Christmas movie EVER), a certain collection of holiday music that makes everyone else groan when you put it on.

10. Don’t forget to recharge your batteries—and no, we don’t mean Duracell or Eveready! We really can’t state this one strongly enough. It’s something introverts have to be vigilant about during the best of time, but during the holidays, it is critical! Take the time to recharge your battery! Do not risk depleting your reserves! (Yes, that’s an order. Or maybe just a sternly worded warning: Whichever makes you most inclined to follow it.)

11. Enjoy the dead zone between Christmas and New Years, when life kind of stops—or at least slows down. It’s a fallow, fertile time when we’ve just capped the year with a celebration and have yet to start the new year with all its resolutions, plans, and intentions. It’s a time for dreaming, reflecting, of reviewing and savoring. If you haven’t had a chance to refill your well or recharge your batteries, grab some time now, while everyone is in this lulled state.

Wishing everyone a fabulous end to 2010 and an even MORE fabulous 2011! We will be signing off until next year (I have a mss due on Wed., and haven't EVEN started getting ready for Christmas yet!). We'll return on January 10, 2011 with lots more thoughts and interviews and profiles.

(Also, if you are a regular Shrinking Violet blog reader and have a book coming out in the firsts three months of 2011, send me a quick email with a copy of your cover. I'll be updating the sidebar for the new year!)


Botanist said...

Oh! This is so true!

On top of being an introvert, my upbringing was plagued by strict indoctrination to think of others before thinking of myself. That makes it doubly difficult to make time for things that, to others, look like pure self-indulgence.

Thanks for the reminder that things like this are acts of self-preservation rather then self-indulgence.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Happy holidays, Violets!

I have a suggestion for New Year's: Take a walk alone to greet the new year.

And a plea from introverts who feel put "onstage" when the camera comes out: Please limit the picture-taking, especially the posed picture-taking!

R.L. LaFevers said...

You are so welcome, Botanist! Having had a similar upbringing, the self preservation reminder is key for me, too.

Jenn, I can't even tell you how much I love the idea of a solitary walk to greet the new year! Putting that on my calendar right now! And an emphatic yes from me on the picture taking. Hate that.

Amy Timberlake said...

Three cheers for this! I actually go to a coffee shop on a regular schedule to work on writing during the holidays and it makes ALL the difference. Used to think I was BAD DAUGHTER. Turns out I'm not if I get a little time to myself . . . Hmmm... maybe just an introvert.

Sarah said...

Thank you for this. People with chronic illnesses who still want to participate in the season can also use this wonderful advice. And if you're a double-whammy like I am (introverted and sick) this advice is doubly welcome, especially if I want to survive to write another day :)

Joan Swan said...

Oh, my gosh! Thanks for the reminders!! Life saver! I linked to the article on Twitter. :)

Kenda Turner said...

Thanks so much for this list--I think I'll print it out and refer to it often this week. Family staying with us, one only two weeks old. I'll need to find that quiet place soon, I think!

Merry Christmas. I enjoy dropping in here for the encouragement you give us introverts :-)

Kelly said...

Love Actually is my favorite Christmas movie too! A perfect holiday treat!
Thanks for these encouragements. (I have a manuscript due on 1/3 but am trying to sneak in a mini-Christmas!)

Angela said...

Oh, I love this! What a wonderful, refreshing post. Holidays can be stressful, but you've given me some wonderful ideas.

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, Robin!!! Thank you for all you do for us introverts! Wishing you a wonderful New Year, too! Great ideas here for recharging. I'm desperately in need of that right now. Just turned in copy edits for October book last Friday. Scrambling to get ready for Christmas this week. :-)

I also got to see cover art for my October 1 book, which is a VERY nice present in itself and it's fantastic!

Happy Vacation to everyone!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Love this post!!

Merry Christmas and happy new year to you Robin!!!

Adele said...

Perfect! Love the idea for the character's Christmas List!

Wishing you peace this Christmas, a deadline met and an enjoyable viewing of 'Love Actually'. It's one of my favourites too.

Elizabeth Loupas said...

NAPS are my favorite. :)

Merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year to all the wonderful Violets.

Anonymous said...

Cracking up at number eight, Robin. Fun list for us quiet types to share. Hah hah.

Merry Christmas, Robin!

Smol Dusaran said...

Wow! Great Ideas! I'll prolly try a couple of them!

Sarah Stevenson said...

Wonderful suggestions! I second Jenn on the picture-taking--argh.

And a resounding YES to ear plugs! :) Happy holidays, guys.

eczema girl said...

being introvert is not that bad, as long that you don't hurt someone.