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Friday, June 27, 2008


Writing Through Summer Distractions

Summer is here and there are a million reasons not to work on your novel. There are tide pools to explore, trails to hike, sprinklers to run through, lounge chairs to recline in, and picnics to pack.

This is, arguably, the most difficult season to stay focused on your computer screen while the sun and outdoor fun beckons.

To reach your set daily word or page count, it takes unwavering discipline--or at least a solid schedule to keep you on track. Neither of which I have, so I won't be handing out kernels of wisdom on those topics. But, what I will say is that somewhere, someone is waiting to read your story: the adventure you write about may be the only vacation a reader can take.

I grew up in a semi-rural, low desert area where the average summer temperature was 110-115 degrees before noon. During my 16th summer, I read 43 books in 2 1/2 months. Every day, I sat on a lounge chair in front of a whirring fan with a bowl of frozen grapes in my lap, and I went on a trip. I was an auburn-haired girl named Tori, sailing with a cute boy at my family's vacation house in Nantucket. I spent months on a deserted island riding a beautiful black stallion. I slipped into a wardrobe and was transported to a magical land where animals spoke. I had so many amazing adventures that by the time summer ended, I was exhausted (and exhilarated) by all my travels and adventures. The experiences were so clear and full that I felt I had really been there. It was the only summer I remember now, 25 years later.

So, if for no other reason, carve out time to write for your reader. Use that as your motivation.

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Blogger Shelli said...

Keeping to a schedule of working in the early mornings always helps me. But we did just take a week vacation, and I didn't think about my novel at all. I came back renewed. I guess sometimes taking a break helps, although I definitely have to be careful about not taking too long of a break!

1:16 PM  
Blogger MP said...

I have fond memories of summer reading as a kid. I loved trips to the library for more books!

Now it's so great to see my kids reading, going through piles up library books as quick as we can get them!

10:39 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

43 books in 2 1/2 months? Geez, you must be a speed reader! I recently read a book in two days, and that was pretty surprising to me. Usually, I take forever.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Annette said...

Some of them were light reads--like teen classics or teen summer romances that came in under 200 pages, as well as the old Harlequin Silhouette (it was the '80s). Some were a little thicker like Jackie Collins, John Saul, Joseph Wambaugh, and Mario Puzo. I read anything I could get my hands on.

There were two amazing books that have long been out of print (they were my mother's when she was a teen). "Lad: A Dog" and "Frog: The Horse Who Knew No Master." You know they were great if you remember the titles 25 years later!

5:25 PM  
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3:14 AM  

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