Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fighting the Dog Days of Summer

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
The monsters are out of school.  They're already bored.  It's too hot to play outside all day.  The Evil Day Job is crazy busy.  The air conditioner is crying.  Mom doesn't want to cook.  Our sleep schedules are all messed up because again, school's out.  Yet work must go on, which means less sleep, longer hours, and shorter tempers.

How do I keep writing in all that insanity?

It's a struggle, let me tell you.  I always have a hard time in the summer.  It's too hard to get up early before work and write (what I call "Dark and Early").  I like to write at night, too, but the kids are still up, which makes it hard to concentrate.  Work has been too busy to write much over lunch and longer hours make it harder to sneak in time before cooking dinner.

The chores never end.  The kids have summer activities like band camp that mess things up even more. 

In June, I didn't even break 10K.

*hangs head in shame*

However, I decided I was going to correct that problem this month, and so far, I've already written 10K in July.  I hope I can continue the pace through the rest of the summer -- I need to!  I'm behind.

If you're struggling too, here are a few techniques that have worked for me.

  • I set up a simple spreadsheet for my daily word counts.  Until I hit my daily goal, that column stays red.  As soon as I break the goal, it goes green.  That simple color change is actually pretty motivating, as long as I actually *open* the file each day and take a look at it.
  • I usually have playlists built for each project, but lately, nothing was satisfying me.  So I switched to simple nature and rhythmic sounds via Naturespace.  The change in music has really helped fire up my creativity again.  Maybe I was just getting tired of the same old songs.
  • I set tiny goals to start.  250 words.  That's it.  Once I got that green column a few times, I increased my goal.  I'm up to 1K a day now and easily beating it.
  • I set a timer for 15 mins and closed all browser windows.  I ONLY wrote for 15 mins at a time and it was amazing how much I got done when I refused to waste time on the internet.  At first, I could only get a hundred words.  Then I got 150.  Eventually, the words were coming and I didn't have to use the timer any longer.
  • I took a break from the project that was dogging me.  In fact, I started a brand new project as a collaboration, something totally new for me.  It sparked my creativity and got me moving again, so I'm getting words on other projects too.  I'm hoping that when I return to the first project, I'll be energized again.
The most important thing is to START MOVING.  One step, just one, will get you started in the right direction.  Inertia is hard to overcome.  It takes a lot of effort to start moving at first, but eventually, momentum builds.  Then it's easier to face that blank page every day.
Do you have any techniques that have helped you fight the summer blahs?


  1. They all sound like excellent ideas! I have to set a timer for getting *off* the social media if I want to get any kind of daily word count LOL.

  2. Me too, Veronica! The internet can be a huge time sink for me.


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