Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ain't No Cure for the Summertime Blues

Been feeling somewhat low and at odds with myself lately, which pretty much means I haven't been writing as much as I need to. I don't mean 'need' as in needing to get work done, I mean 'need' the same way an athlete needs to work out in order to feel fit. But that's largely due to the start of summer vacation. Okay, full disclosure, it's also due to my near-obsession with reading the first four books of the Game of Thrones series twice (that's roughly 6,000 pages in the past two months) before the fifth book comes out on July 12th and reading The Inferno for my work with Home-Schooled Teen.

Mostly, though, it's the beginning of summer that's thrown me off my stride, as it does almost every year. It's difficult to make a smooth transition from having my days to myself to having two kids hanging out at home. This year, we had planned to be away from home for most of the summer on a cross-country trip. Unfortunately, the rising cost of gas increased the cost of that trip enough that we've postponed it until next summer. So the kids are home and decided they didn't want to do summer camps this year. Which means they're home. Full time. They're good kids and pretty used to their mom's crazy insistence on being left alone for vast stretches of time as well as her lion's roar when she gets interrupted while she's writing (I do allow interruptions in the case of life-threatening situations, if blood has been spilled, or the house is burning down. Other than that, you take your life in your hands if you come into my space while I'm working). As much as they leave me alone, it's still difficult to write when I know they're there. So I haven't been. And it's starting to show.

Which means that it's time to commence the Emergency Summer Plan of Action: waking up at 4 am to work on the novel for a few hours before everyone else's day gets going.

I've done it before. Several years ago, I finished up another novel by getting up at 4 am for three months straight, and it was wonderful. It wasn't so much the blissfully uninterrupted hours of writing time, it was sitting down to write day after day and observing the ebbs and flow of my creative process. There were productive days and non-productive days. Days when the writing flowed and days when it was stuck in the mud. The work responded to that schedule, too. It seemed to like the extra attention and the additional commitment I was making to get that book finished. The other thing I noticed, when I get up at 4 am and start writing immediately, I don't get that niggly, annoying half hour of self-doubt while my conscious brain gives up the idea that it's in control. When I start writing at 4 am, my conscious brain is still asleep and doesn't notice that anything's going on until I'm half an hour into the work and then it takes a look and goes, okay, everything's under control.

So back to 4 am wake-up calls while I get this novel finished.

There are other things on the summer docket. I'm putting together an Etsy store to sell my cards and pins. Fingers crossed I'll have that going in the next month. I'll make an announcement here when that happens and direct everyone to my store.

The big excitement at the beginning of July is the arrival of my mentor, Alice la Plante's first novel in bookstores. Alice is an amazing writer and this book gotten some serious buzz - it's the #1 summer Indie Bookseller's pick - finger's crossed it'll do great. The book is about a woman with Alzheimer's who is accused of murdering her next door neighbor and can't remember what she was doing, just that there was blood on her hands and the police arrested her. You should definitely go look for Turn of Mind by Alice la Plante and help it become a best seller.

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