Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Writing Seasons


After just finishing up my 6th summer spent working on writing a novel, I think I've finally figured something out: the summer might not be the best time for me to write creatively.  I think I might be a fall and winter girl when it comes to this kind of writing.  The more I started thinking about it, the more I realized how my big productive times in writing happen in the fall, when I'm typically the most busy.  For example, last year I started my 500 words a day project (where I made myself write the first draft of my novel by writing every single day as long as I wrote at least 500 words) at the end of October.  I have also spent a lot of my summers suffering from what Alex and I affectionately call "the summer sadness." Where I get into this funk of having too much time on my hands. I know I sound obnoxious right now, that having too much time is a true gift for most people, but not for me, when it comes to writing at least.

You know that vision?  Being isolated in a lake house with nothing to do but enjoy nature and write your novel?  I think I realized that that vision might be more of a nightmare than a dream.

Last summer, I was prepared to have a really tough, not so fun summer.  Alex had his accident in May and most of the summer would be spent with him being immobile.  I decided then and there, that since it was going to be a tough time in our lives that I would try and make the most of it. My main focus would be trying to have fun and to rest and relax in any way that we could.  And when I look back on it, that summer was actually a really fun summer.  I didn't sink into the summer sadness, because I had other things distracting me from being down when I wasn't as productive as I thought I should be with my writing.  I cherish my "too much time on my hands" summer vacations, but have come to realize that I need this time to rest, relax, be indulgently lazy and maybe let myself wait for inspiration to come. Maybe let myself get bored (remember being bored on a long hot summer day as a kid?) I think that's what summer should still be for me.

This summer I felt very happy with the kind of writing I published on my blog, but didn't spend the time revising my novel that I thought I should.  While I did take an 8 week novel writing class which I really enjoyed, I didn't do the outside work that I could have accomplished with the time on my hands.  And now we are in fall.  Although I'm planning on squeezing in a few more beach weekends, today was the first day of school and I'm back to being a full time librarian as my day job.  But I'm getting excited by the fact that I have to squeeze in those writing times again! Waking up an hour early or going to a cafe directly after our staff meeting to write before going home.  There isn't time to sit around and wait for inspiration to strike in the fall, and I'm looking forward to that.

Right now, I'm still in season limbo and trying to decided what my next step will be.  I'm considering revising the first draft of my novel in a similar 500 words a day fashion (complete with a complex sticker system) but I'm also considering taking a memoir writing class where I hope to potentially turn some of my blog posts into longer pieces.  The class starts in October and a friend has already signed up for it (we didn't know that we were both interested!) so that is some definite incentive to do the class.  But it's a 10 week commitment meeting from 7-10PM every Monday.  That feels a little daunting, and I'm wondering if it's my time of  year to be focusing on my novel, not creative non-fiction.

Any thoughts on being creatively driven by the seasons?  Do you find yourself doing different sorts of creative things at different times of the year?  I'd love to hear about it! And advice on weather I should take the memoir writing class or spend the fall revising my novel would be much appreciated too!


  1. I'm all for the memoir writing class, but that's because I've been looking for something similar with no luck and would hate to miss that opportunity. I'm sure there will be another one in a different season available for you though. I'm not so sure if the seasons are what do it for me, but I am definitely influenced by how busy I am. I hate having so much free time in so many ways. When I am busy I squeeze so much more in, but when the days are endless and open in front of me it's really hard to make use of them. It's definitely a fine balance and one I am far from perfecting.

    1. Thanks Sara! Yes, I think we're both productive in similar ways.