There’s a bit of a theme going on between my author friends and myself. Some call it Summertime Slump. Our brains seem to turn to mush in the summer, and the ideas and stories just don’t flow. I’m right on that bandwagon, but this morning I’ve decided to change my perspective and call it the Summertime Switch.
After all, it’s natural to look out the window on a beautiful summer day and get distracted, isn’t it? And those of us who have kids at home during the Dog Days have an added ingredient thrown into the salad bowl of summertime distractions. The kids want to go to the pool or explore the vast world outside of school, and it’s our job to begrudgingly leave the comfort of our keyboards and notebooks and pack them into the car to seek adventure.
I know that for me, I have the guilt of abandonment on my shoulders no matter what I do. If I decide to give my kid his iPad for a few hours so I can write, I’m guilty of not engaging with him. If I leave my current project behind to whisk my son off to summertime adventure, then I’m guilty of neglecting my characters and story and disappointing my readers.
Since I haven’t been able to write much, I’ve done a few other things to keep my brain in writing mode without taking too much time away from family: Writing up character pages, organizing my Scrivener template for Book 4, promoting my first three books, engaging with fellow authors and readers on social media, and, my favorite, painting some character concepts to keep me inspired. I know that many authors feel they don’t have the talent or inclination to sketch, so something else that’s fun to do is search online for photos of actors and models who look like the characters you envision.
So, the Summer Switch, to me, means switching your outlook on my productivity. I might not get as much writing done as I’d like, but a switch in direction and perspectives is sometimes helpful to expand our viewpoints. Go out and explore! Being out in the world, however reluctantly, might inspire my next big idea. Seeing things anew through the eyes of my son is definitely an inspiration. Even a trip to the movies can get my ideas churning. (Have you seen The BFG yet?)
Grab your journal. Go out, open your ears, explore new places and perspectives, people watch. Have fun!
This week is a treat for me. Camp is in session. That means I can have an in-house guilt-free writer’s retreat! I’m spending as much time at the keyboard as I can to work on Book Four of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, which currently has the working title Call of Hywilkin, coming this winter!
All artwork copyright Missy Sheldrake 2016 All Rights Reserved.