Once, I submitted a story about two of my kids and settled back to wait a few months to hear from the editors. Instead, less than a week after putting it in the mail, I got a frantic call from an editor wanting to know how quickly I could sign a contract because they wanted it for the edition that was about to go to the presses. Seems it was their Mother’s Day issue and, though I’d not thought about it being that kind of story when writing it, they felt it filled a spot in that particular holiday issue. I jumped through a few hoops and the story was in their magazine in time for Mother’s Day.
Believe me, that’s not the norm. Normally, if the holidays are approaching… any holidays… and suddenly a lovely story idea relevant to the holiday flits through your mind, by all means, sit down and write it while it’s still fresh in your mind. Then polish it. Edit it for grammar and flow. And set it aside for six months.
Because publishers work six months ahead for holiday themed publications.
This also applies if you are self-publishing electronically. Yep, all those lovely Christmas stories that magically appear on Amazon or Smashwords as the holidays draw near were probably written in June or July in order for the writer/publisher to re-write, edit, find or create a cover, format for e-readers, and publish in time for it to be on-line for holiday reading.
Which means that we writers must think about Christmas in June or July. Thanksgiving in May or June. And so on… and so on… and so on… for each and every holiday. Which also means that, for any writer wanting to write about Christmas, the holiday might as well be in the middle of summer and the Fourth of July be celebrated while the snow flies.
So, if writing holiday stories is on your to-do list, right now while you’re thinking about it, take next years’ calendar and make notes in large letters on the page for whatever month is six months before the holiday that you want to write about. Then write your story or novel. Then rewrite it. Make it perfect in every way. And, if you are sending it to a publisher, submit it six months in advance of the holiday. If you are self-pubbing electronically, make a note on your calendar to remind you to publish it in time for holiday reading. (Because, if you don’t, you just might forget.)
I admit that it’s a bit odd, thinking of Christmas when everyone else is celebrating the Fourth of July. And the Fourth of July when everyone else is thinking of Christmas. But you can do it. Because you are a writer.