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Writer Wednesday: Keeping Your Spark Through Summer Chaos

Good Morning authors and welcome to another writer Wednesday where we talk about industry, craft, and more. Now I often post about how we should forgive ourselves for taking breaks and putting our mental health and well being at the forefront because times be what they are, BUT many of us write for our mental well being and when the Summer season hits, our creative habits tend to take a hit no matter what our living situation. Whether the kids are suddenly home 24/7, the heat is melting your inspiration into a sad puddle on the asphalt, or the general uptick in various activities at work or home has you drained, you may find that maintaining your creative spark through the summer months, self care aside, can be a challenge.

Keeping Your Spark Through Summer Chaos

Embracing Unconventional Writing Times & Locations

So your whole schedule has gone out the window. The kids might have you up at the crack of dawn or sleep until noon. It's a roulette really. Or a change in work demands and times has forced you to shift your whole day around. Whatever the cause, your usual writing time and space has become a casualty of summer mayhem. Time to find new niches to carve out a few words, whether it's in a parking lot, at the beach, or dictating to an app on your phone while grocery shopping, finding a way to get words on paper, digital or physical, is half the battle. The other half is finding the energy to write anything and everything you can when you can. In the half hour of groggy wake up time you have, nursing your morning caffeine before the day ramps up, or in the quiet before bedtime. Maybe you steal half an hour on lunch break to write between bites. It may not feel like a lot of time, but each half hour usually produces a couple hundred, and those words add up.

Remember to Take Care of Your Body

Pushing yourself to meet a high word count every day can have mixed results. If you do manage to meet a high goal, it can feel amazing but it might not be feasible every day, not to mention the toll on your body. Sore wrists, not maintaining a correct posture, or just not taking enough movement breaks can take a huge toll on your productivity. It is important when writing during the summer months especially, to hydrate and remember to get up and move responsibly. A mile hike isn't necessary but going for a short walk around the neighborhood or hoping on an exercise bike for ten minutes can go a long way to keeping your body active and maintained. The older you get, the more you will feel those long writing sessions, and taking regular breaks actually helps you write for more time over the course of a day. A great technique for this is the Pomodoro timer, using a twenty seven minute interval to write before taking a break to move around. Rinse and repeat. Drink more water than other drinks. Water will be more beneficial your system than caffeine so while it may be tempting to go through a whole pot in a day, switching over to H20 after a morning cup will be the most beneficial to your system.

Using A Flexible Word Goal and Sticking To It

Remember how I said pushing for a high word count can have mixed results? Well, having a daily word goal is not necessarily a bad thing, but it should be reasonable and doable. The best way to achieve a word goal is to aim low and flex high. Rather than give yourself a do or die number, make it a range. Make it a wide range like 50 to 500 words. Fifty is a tiny number but sometimes, after a long day, it can feel like climbing a mountain to get a single sentence on paper. But fifty words is fifty words. Even if you manage the absolute bare minimum of 50 words a day, that is 350 words a week, which is 1,400 words over four weeks. Slow progress is still progress and not every day will be so draining. Some days you will sail past that 500 word goal with ease, but maybe the next day, you are too sore to do more than 50. Keeping a low goal and sticking to it means you still accomplish something no matter how off kilter the day may be.

And as always, remember to be kind to yourselves during the Sweating Season.

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