“Summertime, and the living is easy …” by Janice L. Dick

IMG_1194Ha! Obviously, George Gershwin had a different perspective of summer than I do. Summertime living is busy and enjoyable, but not necessarily easy. There is yard work to do, added to the usual routine.

When the living is busy, our writing can sometimes reach an impasse. Not that we’re blocked by lack of ideas. Often it’s more the impossibility of accomplishing everything we need to do.

How do we “get over the hump” and back to routine?

When I am most distracted, I make lists. I find lists calming because they allow me to visualize the situation and organize myself. That’s the first step for me.

I make note of all my writing commitments and arrange them according to importance. Since I’m an indie publisher, there’s no one telling me what to do next, only self-imposed deadlines.

Is there a project people are waiting for? That should move up on the list. Is there advertising that needs to be put in place to prepare for a new publication? That too should place near the top.

I have a whiteboard with about a dozen current writing projects listed on it. Corresponding columns read: Research / Write / Cover / Edit / Format / Upload / Release Date / Market Plan. I can check off where I’m at for each book or story, and it gives me a sense of control.

A second method I use to motivate myself is to work ahead. I’m sure you do the same. When I have upcoming family events or other reasons why my routine will be off-kilter, I try to tackle regular projects before they’re due. I post a blog each week on my website, as well as a couple more every six weeks or so for other sites. I use a day planner to keep track of those commitments. When I work ahead and get all my posts up a month or two in advance, it frees me to spend time with my family, work in the yard and garden, or do more writing on my novel-length fiction.

I won’t necessarily keep up with all of it, but there are things that can only happen in summer, and I don’t mean to miss the season. Our summers are short and our winters long, and there will be firmer schedules once the cooler weather sets in.

So for now, I will organize myself with lists, plan and work ahead in my writing, and keep my commitments without stressing over changes in my schedule. (Flexibility is not my forte, but I’m working on it.) I need writing goals and plans, but they need to take into account the added activities of summer.

The summertime may be busier than the rest of the year, but I intend to enjoy it. I hope you do too.

Janice DickJanice Dick writes historical and contemporary fiction, inspirational articles and book reviews. She also edits and presents writing workshops.


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