Fortuitously, I finished a first draft of my eighth novel today, so I'm giving myself the usual rest of the week off. Typically I try to ease off on myself in the weeks before and after the 25th and charge into the New Year refrfreshed.

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Dec 7, 2023Liked by Nicole Rivera

“Let’s Talk Holiday Distractions”. For us, we try to use all the parties and get togethers as inspiration. Conversations with friends and family and strangers become food for scenes and dialogue. It’s a time of year where conversations tend to go to deeper places. And let’s face it, alcohol as social lubricant means we hear things we might not otherwise. 😉Each night we do a brain dump and carve out new parts of different characters’ identities, beliefs, and behaviors based on things we have heard, observed and learned.

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November and December are pretty busy for me, and since there are social holidays and I'm an introvert, writing slows down or flat out stops because I don't have the mental energy to spare. I'm always happy when January 1st rolls around.

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How I balance it is that I have me, my mom, my dad. Period. And we do all the cooking hubbaloo on Thanksgiving. We do a super nice brunch on Christmas morning, but it’s nothing major.

The year we decided to suffice with grilling drummies to add to the normal egg bake & cheesy taters, and only do one major holiday meal instead of Christmas Eve dinner and breakfast the next morning...well, this happened on Covid. Through the next few weeks, each of us separately had the same conversation with each family member: “Gosh, I feel like I should feel kinda guilty for having enjoyed the non-hubbaloo holiday as much as I did. But I don’t!” 😝

Since not one of us felt bad about it, it’s become official. Low key Christmas with our favorite movies, nice easy food, and each other. That’s it. It’s one of the best gifts we’ve ever given ourselves and each other, and we keep on givin’ it every year.

True, it means other things. But my nervous system and personality never dealt well with the big holiday frenzy, especially Christmas with my aunt & uncle’s huge family or the overcrowded, standing-room-only church with a too-full cry-room. It was always Christmas Eve dinner and a few homemade presents with the 3 of us that was my holiday paradise. So I will blessedly be able to write to my heart’s content.

Wishing any of you who are bad-stressed by the hubbaloo a bit of our peace and silent nights. For y’all who are aching and gutted because your holiday nights are too silent, I wish upon a star for a quicker passing of your pain. For you humbuggers, Happy Grinchmas! For those of you who have totally-worth-it-wahooo-stress, I lift a glass of eggnog while lurking in the wallflower shadows, and live vicariously through your enjoyment of the hubbaloo. May all your pens (keyboards) flow easily, or your minds be at ease with the break!


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