Whenever August rolls around, I always think of the song Summertime from one of my college favorites, Moonpools and Caterpillars.
Summertime blows me away
And summertime leads me astray
With these hopeless dreams of these endless things
I may not achieve
To be fair I did sell one house, move and am in the process of remodeling another this summer, but even if this had been a normal season, my perception of how summer should be verses what it actually is never seem to match up.
It is my dream that summer would be endless hours of nothing. Nothing scheduled, nothing planned, days full of endless hours to read, write, sleep in a hammock, go on spur-of-the-moment adventures. Instead it is full of doctor appointments, swim lessons, math tutoring and yard work (in addition to this year's chaos of remodeling).
If you read between the lines, that also means I haven't had much time for writing, which drives me crazy. I have this constant low-level anxiety about the stories running around in my head. What if I don't get them out? Will these brilliant plots disappear? Will all my creativity shrivel up and die?
I complained about this busy season to a friend from my critique group and she politely told me to chill out. Most of us don't have the luxury of sitting around in a deserted cabin in the woods and writing for months at a time. Real life intrudes, sometimes to the point that writing has to take a backseat.
When she had a similar season in her life, she decided to create a file dedicated to the future project that was swimming around in her head. She didn't have time to work on it seriously, but she could jot down notes or ideas, tear out magazine articles or document helpful resources and throw them in the file. She let her subconscious stay connected to her future work, and when genius struck, she made a notation, stuck it in her file and went on with what her schedule demanded.
Not only did this help her embrace the reality of her busy season, but when the opportunity finally came for her to give this project her full attention, she was able to go through her file and complete well-developed rough draft of a new book in one weekend.
I'm pretty sure that I won't match this Herculean feat (one weekend book!), but her story gave me a great strategy to make it through the remodel and the end of summer chaos. My file is spread between my smart phone and messy desk, but I know, once this season finally ends, writing utopia awaits.