Did you hear that massive sigh the moment the clock switched from July to August? It would’ve been a mix of release, relief, and desperation.
The sigh belonged to me.
Growing up, I loved summer because it meant freedom. I lived in the pool, spending hours floating and doing slow spins in the cool currents. I draped myself over chairs and colored while listening to radio dramas and audio books. No rhythm. No routine. No shackles of homework. Only spontaneous fun.
Since I left the school years behind, I’ve become the Scrooge of Summertime. Instead of hoarding gold, I hoard time, only to see it fall right through my fingers into the hands of well-meaning family and friends–along with my to-do list.
Now that it’s August? School time is right around the corner. My siblings are back in college. My teacher bro-in-law is prepping his room. My husband is packing his school bag for his two classes. Even though my two kids have 4 paws and I haven’t taken a class in years, everybody around me is in school time. Which means I get sucked into the rhythm too.
The older I get, the more my creativity craves rhythm. In college, I could easily stay up late and churn out a new short story when the mood hit. I could sneak away from dinner to scribble out a poem.
These days, I’m way more likely to get my edits done (squinting at you, book 3) when I can sit down at the same time each day. I’m way more likely to get swept into the thrill of drafting (eyeing you, new project), when I can sink deeply without getting interrupted. I’m way more likely to be proud of my work when I can check off my to-do list (hello there, planner stickers).
So I’m trying to prepare myself for this shift. I’ve got last minute coffee dates planned to tie off summer loose-ends. I’ve planned out my edits so I can draft when I know I’ll feel the most creative (September and October, always). I completed a 5-day drafting challenge to figure out my most productive word sprint length (3 sets of 15 minute chunks). I started adjusting my sleeping patterns to maximize my feel-good time of day (morning, following by a long break/dog walk/nap, then another writing session). I even cleaned off my desk.
I’m all ready to sink back into my writing rhythm.
How about you? How do you prepare for different season rhythms? Or can you keep the same schedule year round?
Abby J. Reed writes young adult science fiction and fantasy novels that ask what if.She has a degree in English Writing and is drawn to characters with physical limitations due to her own neurological disorder called Chronic Migraine. Her second novel, WHEN DREAMERS FALL, will be published May 2019 by Soul Mate Publishing.
Abby lives in Colorado with her husband and two fluffy pups. If her hands aren’t on the keyboard, they are stained purple and blue with paint. Find her online at http://www.abbyjreed.com.