Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Cycle of Writing

I've discovered something about myself after writing my first YA novel this past year. I work really, really hard in the Fall, and um, not as hard in the Summer. It took me 6 weeks in Sept. and Oct. to write my first draft. It might be because I associate that time of year with starting school and buckling down after a summer full of snow cones and swimming. Summer=Fun. Fall=Work.

I'll admit it--this past week, when I should have been writing, I splashed around the pool with my kids and watched my 3-year-old daughter flirt under a fountain with her 7-year-old fiance (long story but she proposed and he didn't say no, so she's laid claim on him as her future husband). When I should have been revising, I took the kids to Toy Story 3 (AMAZING movie by the way--go right now if you haven't seen it!) If there was a choice between going out for ice-cream and reconfiguring Chapter Three, the chocolate milkshake won. Every. Single. Time.

Not that I've been a total slacker. I've written six chapters of a new YA and have revised my 'old' ms for the billionth time--but I've done it at a slower, Summer pace. I feel September creeping up on me and know I'll kick into high gear again soon, which is good, as I'll stop eating my weight in ice cream. But for now, I plan to hold onto August for all it's worth--by balancing writing with soaking up the sun by the pool (someone has to keep an eye on my precocious daughter).

What about you? Any cycles, seasonal or otherwise, that you've noticed with your writing? Am I the only one that has a weakness for warm weather ice-cream consumption?


  1. This is so true for me, too. But it may just be that there are more distractions. Kids are home, husbands want to go do things, work intrudes. There are trips and vacations. Or is it something intrinsic in the heat and sunshine and elementary school conditioning of summers being goof-off time? Have we created a culture of summer slackers?


  2. I tend to be the same, although I found while I was on holiday for the last three weeks I've been so relaxed I edited between the fun. Maybe it's a disease. lol.
    After all that work I hope to slack off a little for the rest of the summer. :)

  3. I don't have cycles with the season, but overall in what I'm going through in life. I generally work pretty hard all year with the exception of losing my mind and tossing out previously written drafts, taking a break and then starting over!

  4. I love ice cream in any season. :) Your time with your kids sounds lovely and you should have no qualms about it. I have a book release next week, so I have no choice but to work. I just hope for the couple weeks between then and the first day of school, I get at least some time with them. My oldest goes off to college next summer and I just see the time spinning by and no way to stop it. Enjoy it now! Especially because you know it won't last forever and before long, they'll be in school and you'll be hard at work.

  5. Lindsay-the term 'on holiday' is one of my favorites. It sounds so much lovelier than vacation.

    Kristie-congrats on the book release! I'll have no problem working hard when something that exciting is in front of me. I can't even imagine my oldest going to college--I'm going to be a complete train wreck just with his starting 1st grade. :)

  6. instead of writing this weekend i spent saturday running errands with my wife and spent sunday going to the farmer's market, buying tomatoes and peaches -- and then coming home and making a vat of tomato sauce and canning 12 quarts of it, followed by 9 qts of peaches.

    summer provides certain opportunities that only come around at that time of the year. in the cold days of winter i'll be glad that i spent the day sweating in the kitchen canning.

    i'm guessing, years from now, you'll be exceedingly glad you spent precious summer time with your kids instead of slaving over a hot computer screen doing another in a seemingly endless series of rewrites. :)

    (i know your kids will!)


  7. Tom--I just canned my first jar of salsa and am excited to do more! Thanks for your comment. I've also found that doing fun, interesting things ultimately enriches my writing so I'm definitely treasuring this time. :)

  8. Tom, I'm going to have to pester you for a canning tutorial one of these days. My mom canned a lot when I was a kid and I would love to do it.

    Kristi, it is enriching. I took my kids to the lake for one afternoon, went hiking on the nature trails, and when I came home I felt renewed. And it wears the kids out so they go to bed sooner and I can get to work. :-)

    I'm more of a Fall writer because Fall is the superior season. I love everything about it. Perfect weather, beautiful colors, smells. Fall is awesome.

  9. I love slacking off in the summer! When it gets too hot outside, though, I tend to stay inside and write in the air-conditioning, so it all balances out. Hope your summer continues to be relaxing!

  10. Thanks Meredith-you too!

    Lacey-I completely agree. Fall is by far my favorite season of the year!

  11. Summer is for slacking! And daydreaming up new ideas. I definitely work harder in the fall and especially winter, when there's nothing else to do anyway. I find once the snow starts I ask myself, snowblow the driveway or work on my ms, and my ms wins every time!

  12. I have a cycle too! January through March are my most productive months. Not really sure why. Start of a new year, perhaps? Fun post!

  13. What an absolutely delicious post! My son is 18 now, and you made me remember so very fondly those early years. It's wonderful that you are appreciating them now, as they happen (fiance and all, lol!).

    Yes, I do see writing cycles in my life, too, not necessarily by seasons, but definitely in terms of "on" months followed by slower ones.

    Thank you for adding some sunshine to my day. :)

  14. Valerie-I think you get a lot more snow than we do, but I definitely would choose writing over snow-blowing.

    Samantha-I do notice the New Year effect as well. I had a burst of motivation then too!

    Lisa-that is the sweetest comment ever! I love the idea that I added sunshine to your day-thanks!


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