Planning your time is everything…
The same is true for writing a novel. While you don't need to completely plan the story, you do have to plan your time because it will never miraculously appear. “Oh, I have a few free hours today. Think I’ll get some writing done.” Ha. Even if this happens occasionally, it will never occur regularly enough to get you through 50,000 words plus revisions. Plan your time like you have an unmovable deadline.
…but you also have to be flexible.
Sometimes you need to improvise with your WIP. If the opening isn’t working, try starting with chapter two. Maybe that scene in the cat shelter is just too boring, even though you visited the shelter twice and took numerous notes before writing it. Save the file under a different name, drink the leftover chardonnay, and try something new.
You don’t always get what you ask for.
With regards to writing, you may think you want to create a middle grade story. You outline said story. You spend lots of well-planned time writing it. And lo and behold, you develop a really interesting YA voice. What’s a novelist to do? Accept the unwanted gift graciously. It may be what you didn’t even know you needed.
Sometimes change is difficult but necessary.
Remember the magic.
This December, make a conscious effort to recognize the “why” of the holidays and your writing. There’s a deeper reason we celebrate (and create). Remember the magic, and keep the joy in the season and your writing.