If you’re anything like me, the word “Christmas” probably strikes chill into your beating heart. If it was up to me, Christmas would be totally confined to the month of December: there’d be none of this “Christmas-carols-in-September”, “tinsel-in-October” and “total-hysteria-by-November” malarkey. Stores would be banned from putting up decorations until the first day of the month, and people wouldn’t start asking each other whether they’d “got all the Christmas shopping done” until a week before the event at the very earliest. Bah, humbug.

The fact is, though, that when you’re a freelance writer or blogger, you just can’t afford to stick your head in the sand and forget about the festive season until it’s almost upon you. Already I’ve started getting press releases telling me that such-and-such a product would make “a great Christmas gift”, and that’s not a sign that the PRs issuing them have gone crazy. No, it’s a sign that, in the publishing world at least, the run-up to Christmas has begun. Glossy magazines, with their long lead times, will be starting to plan their Christmas specials – and commission writers for them. Ditto websites, for whom having their Christmas-related content indexed by Google in time for the Christmas rush means getting that content written long before the 1st of December. Am I scaring you, yet?

Relax. You still have plenty of time to brush up your Christmas related pitches – we still have Halloween to get through after all. It could be a good idea, though, to at least start turning them over in your mind. Christmas comes but once a year, but the run-up to it lasts for months, and if you play it right, it can be one of the busiest times of the freelance writer’s year.

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