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Friday, May 29, 2009

How do your writing habits and your writing change during the summer?

As a few of my fellow bloggers have mentioned, summer brings incredible distractions such as actually wanting to be outside. Winter I'm happy to sit in my (sort of) warm office and write and look out the snow and do a Nelson-from-The-Simpsons "ha ha" at the people who have to go out there to get to work. Spring and summer bring gardening and jogs in the cemetery (yeah, I'm weird, but that's where I jog) and farmer's markets and other fabulous things. However eventually in Chicago at least it does get too hot and I'm happy to sit in my (sort of) air-conditioned office and write and "ha ha" at the people out there sweating.

Since I don't have kids, nothing changes too much about my routine. I just have to resist the outdoorsy distractions, but the biggest distraction of all is this:

This is the second time I've had a book come out in summer. Apparently July is my month, which is cool since it is my birthday month, so it feels like a birthday present.... Just a birthday present that comes with an insane amount of work. 

I still haven't figured out how to properly balance promoting a book and writing a new book. Last summer when I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone came out, I basically didn't write for a month or two. Not cool. I am a very grumpy person when I'm not getting enough writing in. So I'm trying to come up with a routine. I've been trying to do this for about nine months now to no avail, but I think I'm finally on to something.

When I complained recently about not being able to focus, my friend Tai sent me this great New York Times article about the science of concentration. It mentions a technique of spending the first hour and a half of your day on the thing that needs the most focus. So I've been getting up, making tea and breakfast, and heading to my office to write for an hour and half with my modem turned off. After the hour and a half when, according to the article, your mind starts to wander naturally, I take a break for roughly half an hour. The break could be lunch, a work out, gardening or it could be blogging, answering email or dealing with the promotional things I have to do. Worst case scenario if I get sucked into email and promotional stuff (I am a lot less disciplined at pulling myself out of that than pulling myself out of pleasant distractions), I got an hour and a half of solid writing done.

So that's the routine I'm planning to try out this summer. As for what kind of writing it will produce we'll see. But I am writing a book set in Los Angeles, so writing in hot, sunny weather seems like it will be a good thing!

1 comment:

desparapluies said...

oh good! i think i should become a life coach or something lately.