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Five Holiday Challenges Only Writers Will Understand

holiday, holiday humor, writing humor, author humor, publishing humor, writer humor, funny, Kristen Lamb, comedy

It’s the holiday season, and this is a tough time for most people. For, writers, it’s peace hell on Earth, largely—though not entirely—due to the whole ‘having to wear pants’ thing.

We authors, historically, have been a misunderstood group of people.

Burned as witches. No holiday there. Survival rate after a political coup? Close to zero. Odds of being shot? Pretty much hundred percent, which correlates closely with odds of keeping mouth shut #FunFact.

Friends and loved ones still invite us to holiday gatherings. Sadly, no ‘burned at stake’ or ‘firing squad’ option. Those require pants, but less talking and no prerequisite to bring some dumb@$$ ‘White Elephant’ gift and a nut-free appetizer.

*makes note to hunt down and murder person who invented ‘White Elephant’ game’*

*Why is the elephant white and not pink?*

*makes note to google that later*

*makes note to put that in novel and kill it*

*along with the person who invented it*

Where was I? Oh yes, holiday stuff. Writers. Why writers should be able to qualify for service animals every year. Holiday honey badgers that bite.

Sips egg nog next to holiday honey badger. No one dares approach. We both leave half lit in Uber. Write glorious prose (me and holiday honey badger). It’s amazing.

While the holidays are hard on everyone, they pose a unique set of challenges for writers. We have to back away from the keyboard, put on pants, and remember what it is to mingle among humankind….

…or mostly why we don’t.

#1: Holidays Are So People-y

holiday, holiday humor, writing humor, author humor, publishing humor, writer humor, funny, Kristen Lamb, comedy

Most writers are introverts. We can barely keep up with all the people in our head. And now we have to keep up with real people we can’t control or legally kill, which—trust us—is very frustrating.

If a character doesn’t do what we want them to do? We just toss them off the nearest imaginary cliff.

In life? Good defense attorneys are far more expensive. In a manuscript, we can just write in a billionaire bachelor who falls in love with us and coughs up the attorney fees.

Real life is just such a friggin’ hassle.

Seriously.

In our books, we never have to stand in line or miss a plane. We never have to deal with anyone we dislike that we don’t have the power to destroy.

So, as you see, reality is absurdly inconvenient.

It’s IMPOSSIBLE to ENJOY a holiday when you wait twenty minutes on a parking spot—in the rain—only for someone to swoop in and steal the spot.

Then, you have to park somewhere else…instead of calling down fire from the sky and incinerating them and all they love to ASH.

Seriously. There is zero justice in real life.

No idea why anyone even wants to deal with people without the ability to hex them.

#2: Serial Killers Not a Hot Holiday Topic

While everyone is sending out holiday cards posing with their kids and pets, your tour of the Ed Gein Murder House wasn’t nearly as big of a hit. Hey, you framed it with garland and lights.

That was festive. Right?

Parties are always a struggle (the pants thing again). No one gets your veiled references to Silence of the Lambs because, hey, you did bring a ‘nice chianti’ and a fava bean dip *wink wink*.

Sigh.

While the guys were going on and on about football and women chatting about shopping, all you can think about is how badly you wish you were home watching Dexter.

No pants required.

#3: Pretending to Be Normal

holiday, holiday humor, writing humor, author humor, publishing humor, writer humor, funny, Kristen Lamb, comedy

This is enough to make the best of us snap on a regular day. During the holiday season? *weeping* Most of us ended up authors because we finally came to the realization that the ‘Normal Ship’ sailed without us long ago.

Some of us are secure enough to wave that freak flag high…but not all of us.

And even the most brazen of us weirdos do try to at least make an effort to blend in with the ‘norms.’ Seriously, for all the regular people reading this? Y’all have NO IDEA how hard that %$#@ is.

Not correcting poor grammar? That alone should earn us a friggin’ medal.

***Clothes are hung. People are hanged.

When you’re at the gym and the anchor announces there is a serial killer on the loose and you fall off the StairMaster shouting, ‘It’s a SPREE KILLER, YOU IDIOT! Read Anatomy of Motive you mouth-breathing troglodyte!’

Yeah….

Not allowed back at that gym again.

#4: Pay Attention When Others Talking

holiday, holiday humor, writing humor, author humor, publishing humor, writer humor, funny, Kristen Lamb, comedy

Most of the year, we writers are fairly good at hiding. Holiday gatherings force us out of our tunnels.

Paying attention to anything NOT a book or writing a book is already tough. Listening while people talk—that isn’t a lecture on the history of stringed instruments or the evolution of bladed weapons—is arduous.

This is particularly applicable to those of us who write full time. We pretty much are always reading, writing, eating, or sleeping. Our world is very much in our heads. Many authors (not all) are also…crazy as a $#@!house rat.

Not a prerequisite, but it helps.

Meaning there are a lot of writers who happen to be ADD, ADHD, OCD, on the autistic spectrum, or who happen to like glitter way more than is healthy (*looking at you Jenn C.*).

I happen to be severely ADHD. Anyway, when you’re ADHD a lot of people believe that you’re like a spider monkey on crack—which is only partially true.

I gave up crack in college.

Kidding.

I’m too cheap to buy crack. Dealers don’t take coupons.

Anyway, we vacillate from being all over to being hyper-focused. When I’m on point, the house could burn down and I might not notice. In order to manage my ADHD, I use A LOT of timers and am a multitasker.

Doing more than one thing keeps me focused. I don’t even pretend to understand it.

So, if I have to do laundry, I will put on an audiobook so I don’t wander off and start painting the bathroom.

If I have to talk on the phone and actually listen to the person, I will fold laundry so my mind doesn’t drift.

This means, I have a VERY difficult time paying attention to people when they are talking if I am not also doing something else. So like I might crochet while holding a conversation.

WHICH, if the other person doesn’t understand? Comes across as me being rude.

Thus, the holiday season is a nightmare because, for me at least, I might as well keep a pocket full of cards reading:

Don’t be weird.

Inside words stay inside.

Remember to liste—OMG! JEFFREY DAHMER!

#5: Hiding Glee About New Plot Ideas

holiday, holiday humor, writing humor, author humor, publishing humor, writer humor, funny, Kristen Lamb, comedy
Writer’s face when hears next plot idea in a conversation….

Writers have NO poker face. We are an open book, pun very much intended. Though not a hard and fast rule, we’re right below the chess club and slightly above the mathletes in social ineptness.

So when we hear a GEM of a story idea drift through the conversation at a party….

Yeah that meme floating around about that cat that saw the Christmas tree for the first time? That was fake news. The cat actually was doing the world’s most perfect impersonation of an author who’s just overheard the greatest plot twist EVER.

We get that joyful glazed look where we stop chewing our cookie and crumbs fall onto our chin and down our shirt. At which time the other person laughs awkwardly and says, ‘You’re not going to, like, put me in a book, right?’

Then we (the writer) *fake laughs* say, ‘Gosh! No!’ First of all, writers LIE. We deal in LIES, so don’t fall for it.

Also, as a disclaimer…

You have the right to remain silent or leave us off the guest list. If, however, you invite us to a party, force us to wear pants and talk to people, anything you say can and will be used against you in a work of fiction.

You have a right to preorder. You have the right to buy in paper, audio or hardcover. If you cannot afford the hardcover, the option to buy in digital will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been written out for you?

In the End

Maybe y’all aren’t as socially awkward as I am. Yes, I’m funny, but I can be overpowering and leave people needing a nap…or a bottle of Xanax. I struggle with balance, tend to talk over people and am…well what is the word?

No, the one that I can use in a PG-13 blog.

Extra.

I celebrate the holidays in my own way…mostly watching Muppets Christmas Carol over and over until my husband threatens to divorce me.

Then we switch to Krampus.

I’m still a work in progress at remembering to take turns, that ‘inside words stay inside’ and that—SIGHS—‘not everyone wants to talk about autopsies over seven-layer-taco-dip’ (though WHY I have NO idea) *rolling eyes dramatically*.

I’ve come to grips that I will never fit in, never be ‘normal’ and frankly? Normal is a setting on the dryer so *fair flip* WHATEVS….

*flounces off to watch Forensic Files from blanket fort wearing unicorn pajamas*

Y’all invited.

In the meantime….

Give yourself some goodies for Christmas. PANTS OPTIONAL!

I also have some treats, like a BRAND NEW class I’ve never taught before, and it turned out FANTASTIC. OMG BEST CLASS EVER for my FREAKY FRIENDS!

BTW WE FIXED THE API ERROR! Stripe was giving an API error for some of y’all trying to buy classes and we FIXED that! So get these classes while they are on sale before they are slated for deletion of stuck in cold storage.

ON DEMAND Dark Arts: HOLIDAY SPECIAL Building Your Villain is usually $55 and for the next few days is only $25. Three hours of psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists, pathology and how that applies to writing.

It is like the Behavioral Analysis Unit for Authors. Tres FUN! Villains are some of the most enduring characters in literature. Why not add your own legends to the list?

I’m also offering ON DEMAND! Holiday Sale! Story Master: From Dream to DONE. This class is to train you how to plot whether you’re a plotter, a pantser or a mix of both. It’s also a crash course in creating dimensional characters.

I love hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of DECEMBER, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages (5K words) of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or fewer). 

In the meantime, PLEASE treat yourself to a class! We have a TON of classes that we will be deleting or putting into cold storage come January and will no longer be available. So STOCK UP while you can.

The BIG SPECIALS (other than what I mentioned above)

On Demand: Beyond Bulletproof HOLIDAY Barbie

Usually $55 and now only $25.

This is a THREE-HOUR class on guns, knives, weapons, fighting, law enforcement (from local cops to international espionage) and more. Everything you need to build a bad@$$—male OR female—and get the details CORRECT.

Spilling the HOLIDAY Tea: On Demand Blogging for Authors

Usually $75 and now only $40.

Get prepped and ready for the new year, new you, new blog.

New Classes NEXT WEEK FREE RECORDING INCLUDED

Tick Tock: How to Plot Mystery Suspense Series

Thursday, December 12th, 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST (NYC TIME)Use New20 for $20 off.

Can You Hear Me Now? Developing Character Voice

Friday, December 13th, 7:00-9:00 P.M. EST. Use New10 for $10 off.

NEW ON DEMAND CLASSES

Bite-Sized Fiction: How to Plot the Novella

Use New20 for $20 off

Why Are We HERE? Scenes That HOOK

Use New20 for $20 off

Popular On Demand Classes

The Art of Character: Writing Characters for a SERIES ON DEMAND

Use Binge10 for $10 off.

How do we create characters that readers will fall in love with, characters strong enough to go the distance? Find out in this THREE-HOUR class that also comes with detailed notes and a character-building template. 

This class dovetails with my previous class:

Bring on the Binge: How to Plot and Write a Series (ON DEMAND). Use Binge10 for $10 off.

Need some help with platform and branding?

Branding: WHEN YOUR NAME ALONE Can Sell (ON DEMAND)

Use brand10 for $10 off.

For the complete list, go to the OnDemand Section.

22 comments

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  1. Even though I’m resting between manic bouts of indie publishing my biblical fictionalization trilogy, I would rather stay home and read or watch HOME ALONE and DIE HARD (yes, I’m about done with Hallmark Christmas movies. That’s what I get for starting so early with them) than interact with the extended family.
    My kids and sweet grandchild? I’d interact with THEM every day (and they only laugh nervously on rare occasions when I quote Star Wars, Game of Thrones or Princess Bride) but they have other families now. *sad face* As for putting on pants? That is BEYOND intolerable when everyone puts their best desserts on display at Christmas.
    Thanks for the smiles. I know you’re only half serious with all your serial killer references. *wink, wink*

  2. bwwahhaaa!! I firmly believe in amazon, gift-wrapped option, “I’ve got the flu,” send hubby to store for whatever because “I broke my leg,” and on the phone for 3 minutes figure out how to fictionally kill family members. *hides glee with ease since I am lie for a living*

  3. -giggles- High Five, Kindred Spirit!
    Something I learned recently: when someone [at a party] asks about your writing, they’re just being polite. They do /not/ want to hear about the Muse’s shenanigans. Smile sweetly and say ‘It’s going well. More dip?’. Some lessons are so hard to learn. :/

    1. Yeah, apparently, “I used pig carcass I bought from a slaughterhouse and it really DID simulate the effect of a human being hit with a shotgun blast. I thought that was just a myth,” is NOT the correct answer….

      1. LMAO and ROFL! Damn, I wish I’d known that! My psychopaths are aliens but that’s such a neat fact to know.
        We are obviously going to the wrong parties. Oh wait, no we’re not. Blogging is the party of choice for writers. 🙂

    • Jean Lamb on December 6, 2019 at 5:23 pm
    • Reply

    I basically don’t write in December. See, I’m the Mom, who does the shopping, the wrapping, the nagging to get the tree, the peeling of 10 lbs of potatoes for Christmas dinner, the calling to find out what people want for Christmas, and a lot of other stuff. Oh, and making sure the usual business of laundry/dishes/cleaning/billpaying gets done, too, with extra vacuuming because guests will be over. I get fewer gifts than anyone else in the house (I know, I shouldn’t be counting, but my pile is almost always much smaller than anyone else’s). And yes, I could ask for help, but since the spouse is fighting lymphoma, mmm not so much.

    I’m ready to write any family matriarch, though. 🙂

    • Sharon Enck on December 6, 2019 at 5:58 pm
    • Reply

    I am really glad to have found someone who doesn’t think it creepy that our Christmas family vacation last year included the Haunted Museum in Vegas. Cheers!

    • morgynstarz on December 6, 2019 at 7:08 pm
    • Reply

    Taking a break from revising and lol and behold, a new Kristen in my in box!

    Ten minutes later, tears in my eyes and my SO thinking I’m possessed after laughing so hard – yeah, babe, you got it all goin’ on.

    BTW, I gifted myself yesterday with your new baddies class. Can’t wait!

    • Deborah Turner on December 6, 2019 at 7:15 pm
    • Reply

    THIS! Thank you! I can so relate with all of this, including the ADHD thing. Recently, it’s been OCDADHD, where I put on Home Free and fall into the work. My daughter came over, apparently knocked on the door, and I didn’t hear her. She walked in and scared me half to death because I literally had to figure out where I was! The work is flying and Christmas is going to get in the way. Oh yeah, and hubby is coming home after ten weeks away on the other side of the country. Seriously, this was an epic blog. Thanks again.

  4. I am blessed with a pleasantly weird family, although I do try to keep my conversation PG rated when the littlies are present. Apart from that one time I slipped up asking an under-five if she knew what cannibals were…

  5. Thank you, Kristen, you always put a smile on my lips and a laugh in my belly.
    Did I tell you about my new baby? It’s a Glock 42, chambered in …
    Merry Christmas. I will share this widely.

    • Patti Rae on December 6, 2019 at 9:51 pm
    • Reply

    Alright, I have nothing profound to add, other than this post had me laughing from the start, and now my face hurts because I laughed all the way through it! You do have a way with words, girl! Thanks for having walked in our shoes and helping us with our journey. Your the best!

  6. Actually the story behind white elephant is fascinating!!!

    It’s said (not sure how accurate this is) thatbif the King (of Siam?) hated a member of his court he would give them a white elephant because they were considered sacred. You couldn’t say no to a gift of that magnitude…. But they live freaking forever and the care involved in it would bankrupt the person.

    Nobody at White elephant exchanges enjoy this historical fact as much as I do… Which is probably why I’m not invited to many parties 🙁

  7. I now want a card I can read from when I need to read someone their Lamb rights. (I thought it sounded better than “Kristen rights” — do you Kristenize someone then? No, you Lamb-arize them!)

    I’ve just plowed through 5 hours of classes, with another 3 hours to go. My brain is full. Hopefully that will eventually translate to “who the **%^$ is my BBT for my series?” (Is that the grown-up version of “I’ll put the book under my pillow tonight and be ready for that big test in the morning. Osmosis, you know?”)

    I wish I had a blog now, just so I could share the hilarity and the “OMG, she’s just like me!” feeling I have now. My local writer’s group has a Discord, which they may kick me off of, if I keep spam— er, sharing links from your site. *grin*

    I am so glad I came across your series of posts on antagonists, on Jami Gold’s blog. The posts may be a couple years old, but the information is still relevant and so very very helpful! And thanks to those posts, I discovered BLA. Merry Christmas to me! 😉

    Thanks for making this passion feel a little less solitary and a *tad* bit less insane.

    Anne

  8. Since our kids have been out of the house a few years now, I stopped putting up Christmas decorations. The only Christmas party I’m going to is the local RWA party today. They do the white elephant game, but I know it as Dirty Santa. Don’t remember where I heard it called that though. My favorite Christmas Song is “Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer”. You may say there’s no such thing as Santa, but as for me and Grandpa, we believe! And the best Christmas movie ever is “Christmas Vacation.” I made my own ugly holiday sweater based on it. Features the Griswold family Christmas tree; complete with Snots, the squirrel and the fried pussy cat. And a few of my favorite quotes on the back.

    It’s nice to know I’m not as rare or weird as I thought.

  9. I sooo got the notice for my husband’s Christmas party…no pajamas allowed. AND instead of white elephant, $15 or less gift. Great. Last year took a bottle of wine. It was the favorite fight-over gift. Think I will repeat.

  10. On a totally serious note, it is somewhat reaffirming to hear I am not the only one that feels this way.

    I am okay with small groups of people, but dear goodness, is there anything worse than the holiday Christmas party? It happened to be not he same night as my daughter’s dance recital, so I have a reason to skip it. dance recitals sucks, but no people-ing required.

    I am socially awkward, and as much as I try not to be, I don’t seem to get any better.

  11. I could relate to so much of your post but the part with the disclaimer and rights is hysterical. You should make that part into a graphic and it would make the writer rounds.

    • Karen Jones on December 9, 2019 at 8:55 am
    • Reply

    I loved this! I’m an oddity in writing – an extrovert – but I can relate to the pants thingy. Most days I’m in my jammies, lol, which makes it awkward when a neighbor sees me!?

  12. Absolute truth!

    • Raymond Walker on December 12, 2019 at 12:24 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you for a very enjoyable article. It resonated with me, much as “Big Ben” would were I sleeping in the clock tower. Guilty Me lurd. Though I do wear clothes when writing, I do not wish to be seen as more horrific than my tales. Thanks again for the enjoyable piece.

    • Kendolyn Fisher on December 16, 2019 at 6:52 pm
    • Reply

    I am sitting in the middle of a holiday concert, getting ready to sing in an 80+ person choir, with orchestra, minding my own business, my friend next to me leans in, telling me a short experience she had years ago. I turn immediately and say, “Just what I needed for the conversation in my book.” Stares are unnerving as the conductor cues us to stand.

I LOVE hearing your thoughts!

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