On Writing Gods and Summer Vacations

It's June. Kiddo is home for the summer and the Writing Gods seem to have a knack for cramming tight deadlines into the whims, wants, and needs of bored school children with a sudden expansive estate of open, unstructured time. That's right, my "writing" days of free time, alone, by myself, uninterrupted, are gone until the middle of August.

So let's talk about excuses. This is a PERFECT time for me to say, meh, guess I can't write today--gotta watch the child, got to clean the house, got to make babysitting plans for the days I work. All of those sound like the easy way out of writing. They are. These days/weeks/months (summer, for me, other times for you) turn into the best excuses. It just makes sense to "take a break" or "relax a little."

For me, however, the excuses (even mine) are heard for what they are: procrastination with a backstory.

While it seems very convenient to bow down to the Writing Gods' will and just give in, because, hey, the kid's got to eat/play/be taken to gymnastics, this scenario is totally the tunnel painted onto the brick wall. I will slam into that sucker at full speed if I'm not careful and by the time I come to, months will have past and no writing will have been done.

What I have discovered over the years is that the kryptonite of excuses is dedication and a plan. As I mentioned above, I'm working on some tight deadlines right now. If these dates aren't hit, I will crumble. I need to hit my mark each time in order to feel progress within myself. A sense of accomplishment cannot come without measured goals, after all.

What I didn't mention above is that these deadlines which are so tight and foreboding are my own. This is where dedication comes in. Yep, they are MY push on myself to produce X amount of work by Y date. If I miss them, no one but me notices. If I hit them, no one but me notices. The key is that I'm building and nurturing a discipline for myself which is productive. And each time I build up a new discipline, I find it easier to tack a little more on.

Initially (ten/twelve years ago?) my writing discipline was about just shitting or getting off the pot in terms of writing regularly. Then, I started to make it a daily goal. Then, because I had written, I began a routine of regular editing paired with daily writing. All of this is to say that there was, in fact, a summer season during each year of my discipline journey and each year I've grown better able to tackle the excuses and power through the temptation to "just take a break for a little while." I manage my time tighter to offer loads of interaction with kiddo followed by down time where we each do our own thing, mine being writing.

So, as the Writing Gods poke and prod at my deadlines, and glare at my late nights spend hunched over the keyboard, I know that I'm creating something here that I'll be proud of come fall. To me, that is more satisfying than any well said excuse.

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