Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summertime and the Writing is Easy


by Ronda Simmons

Maybe for you, but for me, the summer has historically been a frustrating, non-productive time with regards to writing. Distractions abound. The kids are home from school, the hiking trails beckon and I find myself saying, too often, "I'll get back on track tomorrow."

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love You, Tomorrow . . .

Tomorrow, however, brings with it relatives stopping by on their way to Rocky Mountain National Park, and summer soccer league, and limeade spiked with rum, and a million other possibilities. For me, writing during the summer is only slightly less difficult than trying to write in the week between Christmas and New Years. 

I have no problem taking that week off every year to overindulge in most, if not all, of my vices, but the summer is three long months. Three months is far too much time for my writing muscles to lie fallow and lose their tone.

Exercise those writing muscles!

What to do? Can I write when my darling children are UNDERFOOT and coming up with new amusements that involve raw eggs and the garden hose? Nope. Can I tell my favorite cousin not to visit? I can't. What I can do, however, is to apply some writing hacks to my life so that at the end of the summer when the last sunburn has long healed, I can look back on the season with a sense of satisfaction that this year it was different. This year I got some writing DONE.

I've armed myself with a brand new tool box full of techniques to try.

I'm going to retire my laptop and write exclusively in a notepad. It will be easier to jot down a few lines at a picnic table or at the end of a hiking trail if all the paraphernalia needed to keep the electronic beast alive do not bother me.

I'm going to put that novel I've been working on away and let it marinade in the summer heat while I try something new. I've had a few ideas floating in the flotsam of my brain. It's time to scoop them out of the muck, dry them off and decide if they are keepers.

I'm going to write in new locations. I'll spend an afternoon at that outdoor table at Intersect Brewery that has been calling my name. Of course, the fact that their beer is truly outstanding has no bearing on this decision.

This is my happy place

I'm going to give Sheala Henke's method a try. She gets up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 (that's AM, people) and writes the most amazing prose. I have a hard time seeing myself successful at this, but I'm going to give it my best.

I'm going to block out writing time on my calendar and apply the Kerrie Flanagan technique. When someone suggests something fun and summery during my writing time, I will say, firmly, "I'm sorry. I can't. I have a previous commitment," and repeat as often as necessary.

It's OK to read, really

For those days when I just don't have it in me to put pen to paper, I will allow myself the freedom to chillax with a book. 

If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write. Simple as that. – Stephen King

Stephen King, dreamboat

My summer reading list includes Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax, and Thunderbird by the always fabulous Chuck Wendig.

For more thoughts on how to improve your writing productivity during the summer, check out these links:

Five Summer Writing Tips

Keep Your Writing on Track

Writing Tips


Nancy Riley said...

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one struggling with carving out time to write this summer. My writing group decided that each of us will make a writing goal(s) each week to keep moving forward. Thanks for the encouragement!

Ronda Simmons said...

Setting writing goals for the summer is a great idea to keep on track! Good luck! We're all in this together!

David Sharp said...

I like the idea of working on smaller projects when you have less time. That's certainly a good description of my own productivity of late. It keeps me writing, but with more manageable works until I have a chance to take on something larger.

Great post!

Ronda Simmons said...

Thanks, David! Good point! Summer is a great time to try something new, like poetry or flash fiction. Smaller tasks that we can accomplish in a shorter time frame. My problem with writing poetry is that no matter how I try to start, it always morphs into a limerick.

Laura Mahal said...

I really love this post, Ronda.

Please don't let your writing muscles "lie fallow and lose their tone" when we can workout together! You know how much I love a challenge. Not only do we have another round of NYC Midnight's Flash Fiction coming up, but I've been invited to write a travel piece. I'll be researching and composing, redrafting and spit-polishing. (Well, that's not exactly how I edit, but you get the idea.) Bring your laptop or your notebook/pen and let's create some sort of masterpiece.

No garden hose or eggs required.

Share a Post