Summer time is prime writing time for me. My best teacher friend (who also happens to be a fiction writer) and I devise an escape plan at the end of every school year to immerse ourselves in a writing life. We do this to avoid the inevitable. School ends and the routine that we have spent all year perfecting and shaping drops away, leaving us not free and inspired, but lost and looking for our keys. This year (because of a late release date) we didn’t do this. Until now. Here we are in Packwood, WA where I have no cell service and I have to sit on the roof to steal Internet from the neighbors who own the pug named Gary (who stops by every once in a while to make sure we are all settled in).
The first day here I was like a kid with ADD during a history lecture. Read for a while. Pace the floor. Write a letter. Walk down to the river, throw myself down on the sand and pray to the River Gods for aid. At least three times, I was ready to pack it up and go home, ready to say, you know what, I finished my one book, that’s all I’ve got.
Finally, I was able to sift through some short stories and decide which ones were worth the hard work of revision and set aside three that are the seeds of future novels. At that point, I couldn’t delude myself. I had a complete draft of a novel I’ve needed to write since 2005, three future novel seeds, five stories that even the thought of revising gives me a mild endorphin rush. I will write. I have to.
This whole situation is really a false dilemma that I have been handed the solution to countless times. Build a habit. Keep a schedule. Set attainable goals.
So, what’s the problem?…
I am accustomed to my teacher schedule, wherein every year the schedule begins anew and every summer, the comfort of that routine drops away. So, here’s what I decided while I was walking around the neighborhood here in Packwood trying to get even one bar on my cell phone so I could send that one last text message. It’s high time I separated my teaching life and my writing life and came up with a writing schedule that will work for me year round. If I am able to write more in the summer (because I have more time), well nothing keeps me from writing above and beyond the schedule, right? I need to create a summer schedule that will also work during the school year and hold myself accountable to that schedule.
My schedule: Thursday through Sunday
Goal: @ least 1000 words or 6-10 pages of revision
What’s your schedule?
See my success rate here.