Summer and writing make my brain cramp.
I have a theory about why. If you were educated in the United States, June comes around and for twelve years or sixteen years or more depending on your education level, summer implied vacation. Ten weeks unfettered by book learning and tests with time to sleep in, watch the stars, read tons, and generally be a slug. After college, even while working, Summer implied sun tanning with a good book, barbecue and hanging with friends. Serious projects were for fall when the enthusiasm for a new school year takes hold. Or better still, they were for winter, when trapped inside by cold weather.
So here I am. The calendar says it’s June 15th. I’m self-employed with writing being my main focus, so goals and production are critical. I don’t follow the school rhythm so much any more and I live in the south so typically no lengthy cold weather hibernation. Yet, my subconscious apparently still follows this summer cycle.
It’s June. It’s vacation time. Play hooky. Go sit by the pool and read a book.
I can hear my body succumbing to vacation mode even as I type that which means I can kiss goodbye June, July, and part of August. The stack of books I’ve read since Memorial Day is ridiculous. (I blame Nalini Singh). My word count production? Uh, not so much of that. Now, I wouldn’t care except every single summer I crash into non-productive mode and I’ve vowed this summer will be different. Why does it matter? Because in the ten weeks of summer vacation, I can write a book and the voices in my head are getting unruly. Gotta get these damn characters into their damn stories before someone catches me walking around Target having conversations with non-existent people to relieve the pressure on my muse. The breakdown has already begun. My apologies to the man in the car next to me at the light yesterday who caught me yelling to myself and typing furiously into the notepad on my phone to get the dialogue before the light changed. No sir, I’m not really crazy. Yet.
So my theory is that if I start a new project, I can let the thrill of creating a new story carry me over the hump of my summertime slugbug nature. Don’t think, just write. Ought to work, except I’m a plotter and I recently read an article (sorry can’t remember where) that suggested any writer that proceeded with a story without an outline was nuts. On general principle, I might agree with that, but not when I’m trying to bring the big guns out to conquer a subconscious behavior that my body enjoys. It’s like telling me I have to go run five miles before I can have a chocolate chip cookie. Blek! At my house, the to-be-read pile is 200 books deep and the pool is only five steps out the back door, so BIG dragon fighting strategies are in order. What I want here is to trick my brain into believing that there’s something freeing about sitting at a computer and just letting my muse out to play. Hopefully, that strategy produces my first summertime book ever.
I’d be interested to hear if any of you have the same issues with summer and what strategies you use to be productive. Help me out here. I’m desperate for ideas.