1. hang 10,000 lights outside without blowing the neighborhood power grid
  2. bake fourteen dozen Christmas cookies of varying shapes and sizes to give away to everyone that we’re too cheap to buy actual gifts for
  3. buy, wrap, and mail out LEGOs for Timmy, a baby doll for Suzie, something sentimental for her parents and something unique for mine, that new AC/DC album for Grandma, and a whole slew of other presents … all in time to make the cut-off date set by the post office
  4. decorate the tree, send out Christmas cards, hang stockings by the chimney with care, clean up the house, plan for a delicious holiday dinner, donate to the less fortunate, and of course, attend countless parties and social gatherings, bringing along the appropriate Secret Santa and/or White Elephant gifts for each and every one
  5. ALSO, write a weekly humor column that will bring smiles and laughter to all of the good, little readers of Whoville…

All that, and I’m still expected to write, too?!

I mean, with everything that’s already going on to plan and prepare for the holidays, sometimes it seems impossible to even fathom trying to be creative amongst all of that shopping and running around and generic panicking that seems to be commonplace this time of year, and don’t worry – you’re certainly not going to hear me saying that it’s easy! So many of us, myself included, bust our butts all year long just to be able to look forward to Christmas when it comes around each December, only to then find ourselves in a whirlwind when it finally gets here trying to make all of our festivities and celebrations just as perfect as they can possibly be.  With so much to do already, you’d have to be crazy to think it’s possible to also knock-out a 600-word column on top of everything else … who has the time???

But while I can’t necessarily tell you the secret to finding more time during the holiday season because, well, I’d be a millionaire if I had that, what I can say is that probably more than any other time during the year, this is the absolute best time for me to practice that old writing mantra – “Write what you know.” If you’ve ever noticed that I pretty much tend to write nothing but holiday-related columns during this time of year, it probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise for me to tell you that I absolutely love Christmastime! I love the decorations and the food and the presents and just the feeling of joy in the air around Christmas, and so if there’s any silver lining to be found during these crazy, chaotic times, it’s that I’ve yet to find myself with even an inkling of a shortage of ideas to write about during the holiday season.

If anything, this year in particular I actually caught myself having too many ideas for the number of columns that I’ll be writing this month!  Ask any writer – there are certainly worse problems to have…

So while time may most certainly be of the essence during the month of December when those sleigh bells are jingling and being funny on a weekly basis seems to be just another task lost in the overwhelming slush of holiday chaos, what makes it possible for me is simply knowing that pretty much around every turn, whether I’m putting up Christmas lights, or baking up a fresh batch of Chex Mix, or even just trying to decipher the etiquette behind returning a less than desirable Christmas gift, at least for once out of the entire year the writing ideas are flowing as freely as the spiked eggnog at an office Christmas party, and as any writer will gladly tell you, sometimes that can be the greatest gift of all!

…although for what it’s worth, there’s always the chance that one of those new ultra-thin MacBooks from Apple could have a positive impact on my creative process, too…

*hint hint*

I do hope that you’ve enjoyed the unique look that this series has been able to provide this year regarding my writing process and exactly what goes into creating my humor columns on a weekly basis.  It’s actually been a lot of fun for me to take a step back and offer up a little light-hearted insight about the act of writing itself, so it’s definitely something that I’d like to continue to explore on occasion next year – between sources of inspiration, topics to avoid, breeding creativity, combating writer’s block, and how to deal with unsolicited suggestions, just like Christmas itself, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any shortage of things to write about!

So thanks again for reading – I hope to continue to pique your interest with more Behind the Process columns in 2011.  Happy Holidays!!!

– Scott