What could be worse? I have twelve weeks of nothing, and I know exactly what can go wrong:
- Summer can be wasted. On Twitter, Facebook, shopping (especially shopping!), lazing by the pool, etc. Friends call it “the time to relax that you need/want/yearn for.” I call it “time wasted.”
- Time can be stolen, even though I agreed to the theft. I will fly to Saint Louis next week and listen to several days of educational conference material. But I want to learn something, so that’s good. And I am happy for the bridal showers, baby showers, weddings, and other celebrations. Still, it is theft.
- I will need additional time, once I return, to recover my writing mojo. So far, I’ve started well, but I’m aware that all interruptions have an additional price.
- I work better with deadlines. In fact, I’m missing two at this moment: getting my Mermaid post up in a timely manner, when I should have drafted it last night, or even last week. And sending my WRW retreat prize submission to Gail Barrett, who kindly agreed to look at my synopsis and chapter today.
- A house filled with clutter is a time thief. I spend precious time looking at and worrying about the clutter on my dining room table. Why don’t I just clear it off, you ask? Because I might need that! (Case in point: I suddenly feel compelled to take a particular basket and stow it in another room, so I don’t have to look at it.).
Clutter = Thief!
Aware of these pitfalls, I also know that I write more efficiently when I am sequestered. I’ve posted before about how I enjoy working on my writing when riding to work on the train. Peter and I drove to Philadelphia over the weekend to a niece’s bridal shower.
I brought writing tools with me and spent the time – three hours back and forth – planning the synopsis that is now late. But I used the six hours (well, four of them, probably)! I thought, wrote, planned, talked and told my story to my captive audience as we rode along the New Jersey Turnpike. It was productive in very much the same way as my train rides to the Bronx.
I’m also reminded of sister Mermaid Pintip’s recent post on making her own home-based retreat. I need to find that RWR article, and Pin’s Mermaid follow-up, and craft my own ongoing retreat. The public library is only a mile from home, and it does NOT have books and papers and outdated statements littering a dining room table.
Once upon a time, I got up and dressed and sat down at my computer (an Osborne!) at 9 a.m. every weekday. This was in the early 1980s, when Peter and I planned our lives so we could afford my career as a full-time writer. I worked three hours, broke for lunch, then allowed myself to do housework, groceries, whatever was needed to keep the house and our married life comfortable.
Those were good years… can I find that discipline again? Or have the years of child-rearing, illness, graduate school and career stolen that urge? Can I get it back? And can I forgive myself if the quest proves impossible?
Reflecting on all of these ideas, I want to do certain things this summer in order to hit my own expectations for a successful vacation:
- Schedule my writing sessions as I used to, once upon a time
- Claim my space
- Celebrate the milestones
- Forgive the rough patches that slow or stop me.
What rough patches do you anticipate this summer? Will you celebrate when September comes?