“The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.” – Steve Karmen
So begins the Dog Days of Summer! These are the days a writer’s fancy turns to beaches, cool clothes, cold drinks, travel and vacations. It’s hot and you just want to sit back and chill. In the heart of summer, we all know it’s increasingly difficult to write.
Discipline is still the key to keeping up the writer’s life during the summer months. There’s no way to get away from the trappings of summer. I get it. You can’t fight it, so don’t. It need not be an either or situation. As long as you fall back on your discipline and trust your training, you’ll be able to write during the summer. You don’t have to write every day. But do engage with your writing every day. That means do some plotting, or some outlining, or some character backstory, or read a book that is similar to what you’re writing. Go to the beach, drink those cold adult beverages, go on vacation and travel the world. Chill out in your favorite beach chair and bring your notebook or laptop with you. While travelling, write about what you’re seeing. Record your experiences. But always remember to at least engage with your writing.
Sadly, I didn’t follow my own advice. My wife and I went to Montreal for the Memorial Day weekend. We met up with some friends of ours, a married couple from Chicago. A great time was had by all. Biking through Old Town and along the canal was awesome. Eating poutine at La Banquise was super cool. Travelling on the Metro was good clean fun. Montreal was and is a great way to experience a little bit of Europe in the Western Hemisphere.
But I didn’t write at any time I was there. I should have. But I wanted to focus on spending time with my loved ones and taking in the sights and sounds of the city. For this reason I will not beat myself up about it. Next time I will try harder.
Meeting with my writing group has become more difficult during these summer months as well. Last summer we were in writing class together. Postponements due to travels to Asia and Europe and visits from out of town family members have been prevalent. We all have lives outside of writing so we simply must grin and bear it. If you can write during these events then more power to you. If you can’t that’s okay too. But you should at least try. One member of the Climbing Ivies of Blackrock wrote a revision for part of her novel while flying back to the U.S. from Japan! It can be done, folks!
A lot of life happens in the summertime. It’s hard to stay dedicated and disciplined. We must do our best to maintain our writer’s life. But if we can’t it is understandable. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Acknowledge what happened or didn’t happen, then rededicate yourself to not only writing on a regular basis but building up the grit needed to carry on.