The Long Summer OR Rethinking Your Summer Writing Strategy

This Summer has been the most difficult writing stretch not only since the beginning of this project, but maybe for four or five years.

Writing Strategy Rethink! So what is happening here?

I’ve changed location for the summer, I’m in a place I don’t now and my precious refining of the best possible writing space and ritual is gone. All of this spells disaster for hitting word counts. I’ve run dry for the best part of a month now and I’ve been embarrassed about even updating this blog.

It’s the first step in the usual Akrasia dial down, at least in my own personal experience. It’s the step away. The avoidance of the self-set responsibility. The disconnect with the reason and drive that first originally motivated this whole project. It’s not that I’ve been unable to write, it’s that the lead up to the writing has been derailed. I didn’t realise how important this ritualistic setup is.

So let’s skip to right now and stop bleating about the bad bit. I am writing again. But the thing is, my whole energetic plan to get up at five in the morning wasn’t working anymore – so I’ve had to turn it on it’s head and I’m writing at night. Once my wife and daughter are in bed, that’s when the word count begins.

I didn’t think it would work, but the first night was an uncorking. I pushed past my personal word count best for this project by some way.

So that’s the good news. Thing is… why? Why is Summer difficult for writing?

I’ve a good friend who helps provide business consulting for small businesses, but from a more holistic and spiritual point of view. We’d talked about this lull in the Summer months and I thought her response was great and made a lot of sense. It was about seasonal growth and cycles of creativity.

If we are talking communal cycles, the Summer is a low period for creativity because the hard work has already been done in the spring (sowing seeds, for example) and energetically, Summer is a time to let things grow. Then you reap the rewards in the Autumn.

We have to set our creativity markers in the Spring, work through them in the Summer and then collect ourselves in Autumn. Yes. That works for me.

So what does this mean for us writers? Trouble, that’s what.

Taking this apart and putting it together again, my thinking was that I’d have loved to have a much firmer idea of the story going ahead during the Summer. So much of the disconnect with the writing strategy has been that the story was in flux and always required creative jumps and in-the-moment writing. All of which has been so difficult lately!

Now, as part of the (re)evolution of the daily/nightly word count, I’ll be planning out the weeks writing in advance, breaking it down into sections, so the big creative jumps are taken out the equation and I can focus on just getting words on paper. Less thinking, more writing. We’ll see where that gets me once we tip into Autumn. Long Summer indeed.

But suffice to say, when I’m writing the next book (yes there will be a next book), I’ll be planning ahead for this Summer Slump and constructing my time accordingly. Maybe that means switching to evening writing, maybe it means having a different kind of writing plan. I don’t know, but I have to go with my gut and commit to the evenings for now… otherwise there won’t be a book at the end of this.

Thanks for reading

– Tom