Many writers put aside time to write over the holidays. It can be a great idea, and it can also be a quick way to get writers block!

The problem is that squeezing all your writing into one short space of time puts you under a great deal of pressure to deliver – and that can be difficult to deal with.

Personally if time is short I feel it’s better to allocate a short time regularly than a long time irregularly: 30 minutes a day can produce an enormous amount of writing very quickly.

But what’s to do if you have only a fixed time and no ideas? You know what you should be writing, but you can’t get started. Here’s the Christmas tip:

Write what’s on your mind. However stupid or irrelevant it may seem.

Yes, don’t get precious. Just start. If you have to write the opening and all you can think of is turkey and chipolatas – well, stick them in there on the page. Fade in on your hero shopping in a supermarket, or a couple having an argument about dinner, or two villains breaking into a turkey farm.

If you’ve got to the big courtroom showdown and your mind gives you nothing but fear that you don’t have the skill that it takes: put that fear in the mouth of your main character and you’re away.

You can always cut it out later. It’s only a way to get started. But from experience I know those little offbeat ideas are often the very ones that turn out to be the best.

Have a merry holiday – whether or not you intend to write a single word – and a very happy and productive New Year.

(My next posting will be on Writers’ New Year’s Resolutions – well, that’s if my resolve lasts).