Summer is just around the corner! It feels like I’m emerging from hibernation. Even though I haven’t been in school for many years (ahem), I still get the feeling that summertime is one endless ribbon. There are so many fun, exciting events planned. (Free concerts in the park! Street festivals!) I can cram it all in and then some. But summer is a trickster, with the longer, warmer days making me think I’ve magically gained more hours, and I often end up burned out before the Fourth of July rolls around.
The first thing to go is my regular writing practice. Problem is, it’s often well into October before I re-establish my writing routine. So last year, I implemented a few rules to combat the summer writing blues.
1. Create a new routine. One difficulty for many of us is that summer shakes up our daily schedule. Take a few moments to think about what your days will look like once the kids are out of school or you start meeting up with your friends for an early morning walk in the park. When can you realistically fit in writing time? Write it in your calendar, and if it helps, schedule writing for the entire summer. Do this now, so you can slide into your new routine with as little disruption to your writing practice as possible.
2. Be flexible. Summer can get so jam-packed with activities that you might find you’re busier than ever. You may have to squeeze writing into odd pockets of time. Last summer, my Wednesday schedule changed dramatically. Instead of writing for a solid hour, I needed to break that down into three 20-minute sessions. It may not be ideal, but it’s only for a few months.
3. Plan for vacations. Do you use vacation time to amp up your writing? Or do you prefer to break from everything while you’re away? A friend of mine luxuriates in her trips to the beach, using the freedom from her regular schedule to write in her notebook while watching the waves roll in. Another friend knows that she won’t write one word while on her family trip to Disney World. With either option, when you return home, get right back into your writing routine to re-establish momentum.
4. Don’t use summer as an excuse. It’s wonderful to relax by the pool because you deserve a break, but don’t let that short break become the reason you’ve left your story for months. Allowing summer treats to derail your writing practice turns them into stumbling blocks. I’ve gotten into the habit of asking myself how I’ll feel at the end of the day/week/month if I abandon my writing, no matter how fun the time at the pool is.
5. Be realistic. Work out your summer schedule with a clear, reasonable take on what you can do. If something unexpected pops up, give yourself permission to take time away from writing if that’s what you need. Be kind to yourself. Most importantly, if you miss some time, all is not lost. Don’t chuck your project because you “got behind,” so now what’s the point? Forgive yourself and get back to work on your story.
How do you handle temporary disruptions in your schedule? I’m always looking for tips. Share in the comments and let’s add to the list!
Need some support to stay on track with your story this summer? My 1:1 writing coaching will help keep you engaged and moving forward. I’ve put together a special summer program from mid-June to mid-August. Come Labor Day, you’ll make a smooth transition back into your regular routine. More information can be found here.