Monday, June 15, 2020

The Problem With Summer Writing

It's already starting; I can feel it. Even though summer doesn't officially start for another week, the turning of the weather and the sun-filled days are setting off flurries of activity. Even with the restrictions on what is available for us to do, over the past week alone I have still done my gardening, mowed the lawn, cut down a few trees, taken some long walks, logged over 100 miles of bicycling, and caught up on some long-overdue spring cleaning in my house - all after putting on the screens so the air can flow through every room.

As a writer, this is horrible.

Don't get me wrong - I am a huge fan of summer. I love warm weather, the outdoors, and all the things that go on while winter is on the other side of the planet. And since I truly hate winter, I have all the more reason to enjoy the rites of summer while the opportunity is here. This is the Chicago area, so I have about five months of reliably good weather every year, and I want to take advantage of every bit. As a writer, that creates a problem.

This is not uncommon - I've noticed it in my fellow writers. They love writing, and they have favorite times of the year, but very few find enjoyment in merging the two. Some (such as myself) find that the best time to write is when they can't participate in the other activities they like. This creates a natural contradiction in that we have things that we like that we can't do together, so we have to place one over the other, like choosing which child is better or which niece we love the most (I'm not revealing that answer ever.)

Often, when we do this, our writing suffers, because it becomes that task we do rather than that private joy we indulge in. Think of how you might have loved schoolwork but when you had to sit in class and see the beautiful weather outside, a part of you just couldn't concentrate. That doesn't end once you grow up.

I only know two solutions for this problem. The first is to enjoy the season, but once you have reveled in the heat or cold, come inside and pour those fresh emotions on the page. Before you've even settled down and changed back to your indoor clothes, start scribbling something down that expresses the joys you've just experienced. When you start reliving your most positive experiences through your most favorite habits and hobbies, they feed into each other. You get excited about going outside so you do it, but after a while you start getting excited about the thoughts and ideas you can write about once you return.

The other idea is to force yourself to do both, with the least-interesting one coming first. This is the "if you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding" way of getting it done, but trust me, it's only for a little bit. Before too long, you do both of then gladly, as you have overcome the resistance of one or the other.

And of course, if none of this works for you, start a blog with a bunch of loyal readers. That worked well for me.

2 comments:

  1. Well, late spring/summer is my preferred time to write, but for those who don't prefer it, just make sure during every rain or canceled event, you devote that time to your writing.

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    1. True. Having very regular patterns that you devote yourself to is a great way to develop a healthy writing habit.

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