Thursday, August 15, 2013

Seasonal Trends

I'm now through with music and art camp. Hooray! This was a good group. I didn't have any real discipline problems, aside from the special needs kids who sometimes went out of control, and there wasn't any fighting or rivalry among the kids. I never had to intervene on anything that looked like bullying, and there didn't seem to be anyone being shunned. I was so proud of one of my former choir kids when she was paired with one of the special needs girls in the instrument class, and she was so good at helping her and being patient.

But still, they're very, very noisy even when they're being quiet. They got into my game of playing ninja as we went from session to session, sneaking up on the people at the next place, and that meant it went down to a dull roar instead of sounding like an invading army with guns blazing and artillery support.

Then today because we're in an odd August cool snap and I could go outdoors without bursting into flame, I walked to the library when I got home. Now I'm nice and tired.

Because if it's worth analyzing, it's worth over-analyzing, I've been thinking about my writing production this summer. My grand plan was to really work hard this summer and then be able to take the fall off, since fall's my favorite time of year. But then in thinking about when I've done my best writing, it's always been in the fall or winter. I haven't written many books in the summer, and they've usually been a bit of a struggle. That presents me with a dilemma. Fall seems to be my most productive writing time, but it's also my favorite time for doing stuff. Every year when I've been frantically writing in the fall, I say that next year I won't be doing so because there are all those things I want to do.

Well, this year, I don't have an impending deadline. My revisions on the steampunk book are due May 1, according to the contract, and I haven't even received notes yet. I'm working on a book, but it doesn't have an urgent due date. Because I'm more productive in the fall, I can usually get more done in less time. So the Grand Plan for the fall is to plan the things I want to do, and then fit the writing in around those things. I don't have to take the entire season off in order to do fun fall things. In fact, most days, I won't want to go out. It's all about balance, which I tend not to be very good at. Now I need to make a list of things I want to do and look at carving out time to do them. I won't try to schedule them too far in advance because some of them are weather-dependent, but I can make a checklist.

When I look at what I do get done in the summer, it seems to be a good time for brainstorming and research. Putting words together is a challenge, but it's a good time for me to be reading background material, doing plot outlines and character sketches. I started doing the background work for Enchanted, Inc. about ten years ago at this time of year, but I didn't start writing until early October. I did the reading, research and brainstorming for the first book in the series I'm currently playing with in the summer and wrote the first draft in the fall. I did all the research, reading, planning, etc. for the steampunk book during the summer. So, apparently, if I want to start something new and dig into the background, this is a great time to do it. It's not a good time to be working on a first draft.

Unfortunately, I had this revelation after a couple of months of frustration and right before summer starts winding down. I've got less than two weeks before WorldCon, and then when I get back from that, it will be September and while we'll still be having summer-ish weather, my brain will be in fall mode. But next summer, I'll plan some R&D, not a first draft.

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