The beginning of the summer:
“I have SO much time to write/illustrate!”
The middle of the summer:
“No problem, we’re only half-way through, I have so much time to write/illustrate!”
The end of the summer:
“How is it possible that the summer’s over and I didn’t meet a single writing/illustrating goal I set?”
Avoid the end-of-summer balloon blues and try these tips:
Set Realistic Goals (I’m looking at myself right now!)
Realistic goals will lead to more productivity and better feelings of self-worth.
Honor the Fact that Writing and/or Illustrating is Your Job (and Your Key to Sanity)
Imposter syndrome is real and summer only seems to make it worse. We second guess whether or not we should carve out writing time. We convince ourselves that writing isn’t as important as time with our friends, partners, spouses, children, the neighbor who needs help, the pets, you name it (especially after a year of relative isolation).
BUT writing is our JOB (whether we make money or not).
We write because we love it (even when it is painful).
We write because it fulfills our creative needs (even when we aren’t feeling particularly creative).
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO WRITE OR DRAW.
YOU ARE A WRITER!
YOU ARE AN ILLUSTRATOR!
YOU ARE A CREATIVE SOUL!
It is okay to take that time and do the thing you love and want to do.
CREATE! Listen to your characters. Shut out the outside world!
Block out Time and Protect it With Your Life
Whether it’s first thing in the morning or late at night…write. Whether it’s a scheduled day of the week or an unscheduled afternoon…write. Just block time out each week and stick to it.
Wednesdays are my writing day.
Wacky Writing Wednesdays.
NO MATTER WHAT!
I write other days as well, but everyone knows Wednesdays are protected. Wednesdays are THE day, no matter what.
Now, of course, there are exceptions and things pop up, but I ALWAYS draft, research, or revise on Wednesdays, even if it is only for a little while. Find a time that EVERYONE knows is your writing time and PROTECT IT! And don’t forget the sand-timer technique when you write. It will help you carve out the time you want and need.
Remember: Writing and Illustrating Doesn’t Always Mean BIC
You are creating when you play with an idea in your head. You are creating when you plant flowers. You are creating when you pop out of bed to write something down. You are creating when you jump out of the shower to record an idea on your phone. You are creating when you draw a REALLY rough sketch.
Write at the pool during swim team practice (that’s where I revised Rosie and Charlie). Draw for five minutes in the parking lot at camp pick-up. Write in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. REALLY, you are getting closer to your goals with each of these activities!
Engage Your Children in the Process
If you are a parent, and you find that your writing time is often sucked into the vortex of life-y distractions, engage your children in the writing process. Write a story together. Draw pictures of your characters together. Brainstorm silly phrases your character might say. My children are older, now, but their level of investment in my writing astounds and thrills me. It has since they were young, and I’m so grateful that I’ve always involved them. My eldest daughter recently made a project in her ceramics class of two of my new characters because she loves them so much. My youngest daughter painted a picture of Rosie the dragon. Engage your children in the process. They will learn about how much work it takes. They will become invested. And they will have fun being creative with you.
Pick a Small Piece of the Writing Process to Tackle
You might jot down a word bank for your story or write out three new ideas. Just spending five minutes on a task can make a huge difference in your creative fulfillment. Don’t feel you have to revise a whole story in one sitting. It’s okay to work on ONE piece of revision! Here are some posts to reference for additional tips.
Reading is part of writing. Each time you read a book alone, or with your child, you are working on a critical writing-related task. Take five minutes after you read to write down three new thoughts, ideas, epiphanies, or character quirks you collected while you read. Each time you do that, you are writing!
Let’s end the summer feeling proud of the progress we made no matter how much BIC time we actually had.
Remember, no matter how much you accomplish, “You’re quite huggable,” just like Calvin!
As Charlie would say, “You’ve got this!”
Feel. Write. Risk.