Writing while the kids are out of school for the summer is haaaaaard. Especially for someone like me, who needs near silence in order to focus on anything, and even then, it’s difficult. And yet, for some reason, I forget this every June. Well . . . to be fair, I don’t completely forget. This June, I very deliberately made the goal to “just work on an outline” over the summer because, for some reason, I thought that would require less concentration than drafting. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.) But with a constant background of TV shows and video games and play-wresting and Lego bin rummaging and and and . . . I haven’t even bothered trying.
And I am perfectly okay with that.
I’ll admit, it usually takes me until about halfway through the summer to come to this level of acceptance. But I’m there now. And here’s the funny part: now that I’m not actively trying to push through the frustration to write, I’m writing. Not an outline, but things like, oh, this blog post. And a synopsis that I’d been beating my head on the keyboard over for literally months. I have an ever lengthening list of agents that I’ve been wanting to query, but haven’t yet, because they want a synopsis with their query letter and for some reason I just could. not. get. it. written. And then suddenly, this week, boom, it’s done. Yay. Now I can get back to querying.
Also, a few of us in my writing group have decided we’re going to start writing and sharing flash fiction with each other every Friday. Flash Friday, we’re calling it. (Original, I know. I came up with it, I think, or we all did, I don’t know. Aren’t I [or we?] creative? Ahem.) We’re taking turns coming up with each prompt, and then we have a week to write one-thousand words or less incorporating that prompt. This Friday will be our first. I . . . haven’t started mine yet, but that’s because I was finishing up my synopsis. I have an idea in my head though, and I’ll probably get started on it today. It doesn’t have to be perfect–that’s the point. We’re just doing this for practice and exercising our creative muscles. No critique, no judgment, just “look, I wrote this! Look! You wrote something too! Yay! We wrote stuff!”
So why this sudden change? I don’t know. Mercury came out of retrograde? Haha. (But maybe?) More likely, it’s because I stopped fighting distraction and leaned into it. Brain doesn’t want to write today? Ok, let’s do something else to engage it. Let’s bake cookies. Or read a book. Or listen to an intriguing podcast. Or crochet a tiny Yoda.
And by leaning into these distractions and doing other things sans guilt, my frustration has disappeared, and I’ve been able to do writing related things again with the understanding that it’s no big deal if it takes me three times as long to do them, or if I just . . . don’t do them at all. There will be plenty of time to buckle down once school starts again and I get long blocks of quiet time to focus. In September, I’ll be able to reestablish my routine, and the writing magic will return.
So that’s that. Now: I have a flash fiction to write about an underwater salesman. Because I want to. Not because I have to.