Friday, July 09, 2010

Are You a Summer Writer?


I am not someone who writes a lot during the summer.

While many of my friends who teach college use this time to generate new work, I tend to use it to fill up, to fill myself with experiences and sun, to take a break from writing.

If I were put my writing life on a calendar, it would begin in September and end in May.  In late August, I get my writing shed ready for autumn.  And in September as my daughter returns to school, my writing life returns.

However, this was also the case before I had a daughter.  Sometimes I feel my schedule as a student so ingrained in me, it's how I see my life.  Still.

I am taking a break from violin lessons, consulting, editing, and readings.  My daughter is taking a break from horseriding lessons.  My husband is taking a break from firefighting.  And our plans?  Why we don't have any.  They will be made daily.  Lunch home or picnic?  Sit on the deck and read or sit on the beach and read?  Camping or camp in the yard?  Do nothing or do little?

If I write, it will also be unplanned.

If I submit, it will be only if asked (and I have time...I mean, time from doing nothing.)

We will simply and eat the food from our garden.  We will watch the sunset over the evergreens.  I will read poetry.  I will read my favorite books.  But will I hold a pencil?

Tell me, do you write in the summer?  Or do you fill up?  Relax?  Work and schedule vacation for a later season?



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11 comments:

Dorla Moorehouse said...

I notice that in the summers, I do less writing and submitting, but turn my attention to other writing-related projects. For example, I'm throwing myself into organizing a monthly erotic reading series in Austin. It's eating into my writing time, but also fortifies my literary life and is a break from the continuous cycle of write/edit/submit. While I'm writing less, I don't feel like I'm neglecting my career - I feel like I'm exploring another facet of it.

Michael said...

Kelli:

As far as writing is concerned summer means nothing to me.

While I do not keep a disciplined hour of the day that I set aside for writing (and I wish I did) I still generally find time to write daily if even only briefly.

Once and a great while I will not write on a given day. This has on occasion stretched into as much as three days but that is rare.

Writing to me is therapeutic in many respects and to miss a day or two or three is not a good thing for me. Just as when I get frustrated and feel like I am trying to force things onto a page, it is not good for my overall mood. I guess I'm just a strange critter that way.

Supervillainess said...

I pretty much keep the same schedule year-round. I'd love to be a daily writer, but I'm really more of a bi-weekly writer (unless I'm writing something on a schedule.)
Living in the Midwest and Southeast, summer isn't exactly a time you embrace - you definitely don't want to spend your time outside. Spring and fall are much more pleasant times for picnics and camping in those parts of the country. The Northwest's pleasant summers (and nine months of rain the rest of the year) have shaped your writing schedule, I'd bet.

Anonymous said...

I slow down on submissions in the summer due to the publications reading less, and it gives me a chance to re-gather my rejections, revise and start again in the fall.

Writing is never for me on schedule. Ideas emerge when they want. Hopefully I can record them as they arrive, but I don't worry so much as I used to. If the idea is good, I will remember it, or take the time to record it ASAP.

I admit, if I go a few days w/o writing, I honestly become concerned I will never be able to compose again. This is a bit unfounded, but never ceases to reemerge during lulls.

Anonymous said...

I think this is an interesting topic, and I am not surprised the comments so varied. For me it's all writing whether putting pen to paper or walking to the market listening to people haggle. Some days it's jazz others classical, or folk. kjm

DJ Vorreyer said...

Summer is my best writing time. As a teacher of middle schoolers, I find it hard to focus on much writing during the school year.Too pressed for time and too frazzled when I get home.

I do write, of course, but summer is the time when I really commit to writing every day, reading all the books I missed out on, and doing the research necessary to submit intelligently.

I just decided last week to call this summer my Deck Residency - with my husband and son at work all day, I have made my own solitary workspace outside. You can read about my summer process at http://www.donnavorreyer.com/blog/independence-day - the post following has some photos of my summer writing day.

Thanks for an insight into your writing life, Kelli.

Bernadette Geyer said...

It's the same for me, Kelli. I take summers off of writing because my daughter is out of school. Plus there's the garden, which always needs tending. If I write anything, it's a line here or there that I jot down in my journal. September thru April are my most creative months.

As for submissions, I usually do a fall submission blitz in September and another submission blitz in June. I can only seem to manage getting to the post office once a month anymore, so any other submissions tend to happen in the first week of the month.

Martha Silano said...

I go easier on myself in the summer, and mostly I go longhand in the journal, jotting down notes that might or might not turn into poems. I do not submit much, if at all, until the academic journals start heating up in the end of August. I read a lot of poetry. I catch up on all my magazine subscriptions--APR, Georgia Review, The Journal, The Southern Review, etc. And I usually do a one-week writing residency near the water, where I do hunker down and get a lot of research and writing done. It all goes so quickly, though, so mostly I try to get myself to the pool and beach as often as I can.

Joannie said...

I'm working at my (day) job throughout the year, so I write throughout the year, too. (I deserve that!) Especially now, that my kids are off doing their own things in the summer anyway.

But I definitely ease up on submitting.

Lyle Daggett said...

I never take a vacation from writing. Writing seems to run in active and "dry" cycles for me, so I'm not necessarily writing every minute or every day, but it doesn't have anything to do what the time of year or anything else with the calendar or the seasons.

I always, every day, manage to find at least a little time when I have my poem notebooks open in front of me. Writing won't always come out, but I always try.

Kells said...

Thanks for all your comments about your schedule.

Yesterday I spent the day with Martha Silano and wrote some great things, which feels like a gift since I don't normally write in July.


Dorla-- RE: "While I'm writing less, I don't feel like I'm neglecting my career - I feel like I'm exploring another facet of it." -- ***Well said!! Thanks for this!


Michael - RE: "Writing to me is therapeutic in many respects and to miss a day or two or three is not a good thing for me." ***I am the same way, but it's a general "me time" thing where I have to be doing something either creative or in regards to writing (submitting, writing, reading, etc.) or I get cranky. It's funny how my family still hasn't quite figured this out. ;-)

J9-- yes the NW weather is definitely a reason as well to my schedule. When there is sun, the last thing you want to do is be in the house!


Anon #1 -- RE: "I admit, if I go a few days w/o writing, I honestly become concerned I will never be able to compose again." ***I have felt this after long times without writing. It either goes two ways with periods of no writing, I either cannot wait to write or I have no idea how to begin. I have said, "I'm not even sure how to begin a poem!" But it always passes.

Anon (KJM)-- RE "For me it's all writing whether putting pen to paper or walking to the market listening to people haggle. Some days it's jazz others classical, or folk." --- ***Yes, I agree, living is writing.

DJ-- RE "I just decided last week to call this summer my Deck Residency " -- I love this idea (and name!) I will definitely check out your blog. thanks for mentioning this!

Bernadette-- Yes, the evergrowing garden!! & yes to the submitting in the fall. I do that also.

Marty-- it was great writing with you yesterday! And congrats on your recent pub. Can we share the news?!!

Joannie-- I have been terrible at submitting this year, but also I know part of it is having a book and part of it is not having a lot of work I want to submit. I have a lot of new work, but not poems I feel are finished that I want to see in print. Having older kids always gives one a bit more time! Thx for your note.


Lyle-- "dry cycles" is a great way to express it! I have those too.

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