The “Summer” that began in mid-March
By Jeff Salter
Topic: We’ve previously discussed how summers typically affect our writing schedules or outputs, but this summer of 2020 was unique in many ways. Tell us whether these unique factors affected your writing… and whether that was to the “good” or the “bad” in terms of output. (JLS)
Wow. Lots to think about with this topic. I had envisioned it might be scheduled around the END of summer, rather than the middle… but I don’t suppose it makes much difference. The die is likely cast for this summer… and here in KY, our summer effectively “ends” before the first week of August, when schools re-open. That’s assuming they’ll re-open at all this year.
I recall last summer (2019) huddling with several of my sprint-mates to help all of us stay “accountable” to do more writing than we’d apparently been inclined to do for one or more previous summers. And I think that effort was reasonably effective. Patricia Kiyono kept us apprised of the weekly commitment and each of us would check in at week’s end to report on our writing progress. It was, of course, in addition to our weekly sprint. That suggestion had arisen when some of us were commiserating about how we’d had such high hopes for ADDITIONAL creative output during the summer months when many of our external obligations were suspended for that season.
Well, THIS year – this dreadful, bizarre, disorienting season of CoVid-19 – has been (for me) doldrums without end. In fact, I hardly noticed Spring and Summer — those months have just felt like extensions of the craziness that began in mid-March with all the pandemic restrictions.
Normally, I’d expect that with so many of my external obligations not only “non-essential” but actively restricted by “governorial” edicts… I’d have more time to focus on my writing. HA.
When things began shutting down in mid-March, I was buzzing along with my first draft of my newest novel. I was intent on getting that draft complete before I turned my attention to the hated annual ritual of IRS Tax Preparation.
I also knew I’d soon be receiving the second round of edits on my sequel in the Time-Traveling Cowboy series. But I was not braced for the speed with which the third round of edits and the galley-proofing hit me. Suffice it to say, if the powers-that-be had not seen fit to grant the extension to July 15 for submission of tax returns, I’d likely have been tossed into tax jail.
Well, I did manage to finish that first draft… and hustled my way through the second draft. Submitted that to two Beta Readers, and then I got swamped by the aforementioned edits… plus a lot of personal issues that wrecked my concentration and sapped my emotional energy.
I have not yet completed the final touches on the tax paperwork to deliver to my CPA — though I have an appointment for tomorrow (Fri.) morning to meet with her.
And I have not yet been able to muster the energy or willpower to return to the third draft of that newest manuscript. Once that momentum was wrecked, it seemed to have sucked a bit of creative life out of me.
Plus, I’ve fallen prey (again) to the lure of the TV… to watch some of our favorite British mysteries.
Of course, I began this period (mid-March) with a couple weeks of jaw pain from a difficult molar extraction. That’s never a good way to jump into an entirely “new normal.”
Even though I was not allowed to visit my exercise place for most of 10 weeks, I did do a lot of walking with my wife here on the property: we walked some 43 miles in April, about 55 in May, but only about 28 in June. The June figures were lower because of weather, two sets of company staying over, and me being allowed to return to my exercise place around mid-June.
What have I learned (about myself) in a time when my external demands have been greatly limited?
I tend to drift too much, apparently.
Not able to concentrate as well, it seems.
And… I snack much more than I should!
What about YOU? Has this summer seemed “different” from more typical summers? How?
[JLS # 496]