Posted by: nancyisanders | December 21, 2012

Writing Holiday Stories

Right now I’m working on writing a Christmas story.

Usually, when I write a story for a certain holiday, I’ve worked on it 6-8 months in advance so that I can sell it in time to get it in a magazine’s Christmas issue. That’s because magazines work that far in advance.

Over the years, I’ve written a number of Christmas fiction stories or poems or activities in June or July when Christmas is the farthest thing from my mind! The sun is shining and it’s hot and it’s the perfect time to go to the beach…and I’m writing about snowmen or wisemen!

But this time I’m doing it a little bit differently. I’m writing a Christmas story during the actual holiday itself.

I am amazed at how awesome this experience has been! I sit on my couch to write on my laptop and the lights on our Christmas tree twinkle merrily at me. I sit at our dining table to do research and my iPod is playing Christmas carols and surrounding me with the joyous melodies of the season. I go to the library to check out reference books and stumble on children’s story hour with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, tables of Christmas crafts to make, and a festive singer entertaining the crowds with more Christmas carols.

Talk about being in the mood to write!

I’ve decided that I’m going to do this more often as a writer. When various holidays roll around, I want to soak in the celebrations and write holiday stories in the midst of all the festivities. Imagine writing about the Fourth of July surrounded by patriotic music and attending a fireworks show! Just think of brainstorming stories about Easter in the middle of egg hunts and sunrise service!

Sure, if these stories are for magazines, I probably can’t submit them for several more months so they’re submitted in a timely manner for next year’s holiday issue.

But I’ve been having so much fun this Christmas writing a story about Christmas, that I want to do it again. Try it! You might be surprised at just how much fun you can have as a writer.

And Merry Christmas!


  1. I do the same thing, Nancy! It adds an extra dimension of authenticity, plus it’s so much fun!

    • Hooray for you, Laura! And I’m so glad I’ve figured this out, too. Isn’t it fun to have fun as a children’s writer?!

  2. Nancy – I think it is interesting to consider the benefits of writing “in” the particular season and submitting in a more timely manner. Here’s my naive question about submitting to magazines: After someone achieves the level of writing/publishing success that you have, do you submit now material to magazines through a particular contact person that you have established, or does it continue to feed through the general submission track?

    Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a Merry Christmas!

    • This is a great question, Cathy!

      And I always recommending establishing a relationship with a magazine editor as soon as you possibly can. The minute you hear from a magazine editor, start communicating with her directly if she gives you her e-mail or personal postal address at the publishing house.

      I write regularly for one particular children’s magazine. I communicate with one editor there. I send my manuscripts directly to her. But not only do I send my manuscripts to her, about once a year, I send her 5-10 short queries with ideas for new stories in the year ahead. She picks the ones she wants me to write and assigns deadlines to me and away we go!

      However, when I want to submit to a magazine I haven’t yet submitted, I still send it in the slush pile.

      To learn more about writing for magazines, how to send queries so you can grab an editor’s interest BEFORE you write the manuscript, check out the chapter “Target Periodicals” in my book for writers, Yes! You Can Learn How To Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career.

      Happy holiday writing!

  3. Unfortunately, that’s about the only way I can write! I have to be inspired and in the moment. You’re blessed to be able to conjure up stories 6 months ahead of time. I think that is the mark of a true writer. You have stick-to-it-ive-ness!!! Heehee!

    • Hey, that would be a great new product to sell at Staples and Office supply stores, especially for writers. “Stick-to-oot-ive-ness!!! Right next to the stickie notes. :o) I’d buy bulk!!! :o)

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