Hobbies are apt to run away with us, you know; it doesn't do to be run away with. We must keep the reins. —George Eliot


When I was a kid growing up in Texas, I attended a summer camp for horseback riding. My horse was named Diablo, and he had a mind of his own. In fact, he had a taste for the scrubby shrubs that grew all around the camp, and would sometimes wander off the trail for a snack.

Riding is a collaboration between the horse and the rider. The horse may have a mind of its own, but you don’t want to let it make all of the decisions. The trick is in learning how to handle the reins. You don’t want to hold them too tightly, or the horse won’t move. But you don’t want to hold them too loosely, because you need to be able to direct the horse or get it to stop.

‘Tis The Season To Stress Out

This time of year often feels like I’m right back on Diablo, getting dragged off-path by a season with a mind of its own. For many of us, the holiday season means there’s too much to do and too little time, and all of it is crammed in around the edges of our already-busy lives. The Laundry/Grocery/Work Fairy doesn’t show up to take care of our normal tasks at this time of year. We’re still doing it all.

It’s at moments like this that many of us let our writing habit go by the wayside. Something has to give, and it makes sense that our creative hobbies would be the first to go. 

But that’s like letting Diablo decide when it’s snacktime

Who’s The Boss, Diablo?

Yes, the holiday season might require a loose hand on the reins. Don’t try to control everything too tightly. But don’t let go, either.

Scientific studies prove that even very short periods of writing pay off by boosting your mood and improving your focus. And engaging in creative hobbies has been shown to reduce feelings of stress.

So if this season means that you’re pressed for time and can’t make huge strides on your work-in-process, that’s okay. Just don’t let go entirely. Switch from long periods to short writing sprints. You’ll still capture ideas and calm your thoughts. 

Stressful moments require more self-care, not less, and creative writing is essential self-care. You hold the reins.

Weekly Writing Mantra: Every day holds time for creativity.