Hey, I remembered that it’s my day to blog (and Andi also reminded me, thank goodness). Writing things down is good.
So, as I sit home on this sick day, taking my Zithromax like a good girl and trying not to cough up a lung onto my dogs (seriously, who gets a cold in August?), I’ve been pondering the idea of timing when it comes to writing. Not the timing in a story, but the actual timing of the writing itself. I know many writers and I know many of them whose favorite times to write vary greatly. Some prefer mornings (me), some write in the afternoons, and some would prefer to write into the wee hours. But what about the time of year? Does that make a difference to anybody? I remember Catherine Friend saying to me once that she was looking forward to a “quiet winter of writing.” My friend Rachel Spangler, however, skiis and sleds and toboggans and does all kinds of stuff in the snow, so her winters are certainly far from quiet. Logically, it follows that different writers write better at different times of the year.
You’d think after seven novels and eleven years in this business, I’d run out of things to learn about myself, but no. The discoveries are endless, apparently. I’ve been working on my next novel, “96 Hours,” since February (I actually started writing the next novel in January, but got the idea for “96 Hours” in February and it wouldn’t leave me alone, so I sort of switched horses mid-stream, which I’ve never done before). I was sure I’d be close to finished with it by the end of May. That may have been wishful thinking, so then it was the end of June. Then the end of August. Guess what? Still not done. It’s been driving me kind of crazy because I’ve never missed a deadline before. Granted, I have a very awesome publisher who gives me the time I need, so it was really a self-imposed deadline, but still. I’ve been rather frustrated with myself. Then, two weeks ago, I finally figured it out.
I’ve never written fresh work in the summer before. All of my books have been written in the fall/winter/spring. I edit in the summer. I work on ideas in the summer. But I’ve never actually worked on a new book in the summer. Why? I’m too freaking busy, that’s why! The summer is crazy here. I live in upstate New York where you take as much advantage of nice weather as you can. You go places, you do things, you visit people, you work in the yard, you get outside. You do not sit in front of a computer and work, especially on evenings or weekends. I think that’s been my problem. Too much on my plate, which causes me stress, which stops the flow of creative juice. So…I’ve had to learn to relax, to not push, and to trust that the novel will get finished. I’ve had to stop beating myself up over how long it’s taking, and that’s helped tremendously.
This morning, I’m happy to say that “96 Hours” is moving along nicely and I’m sure part of that is because I’ve stopped bellyaching about why it’s taking so long. What about you guys? What time of the year do you write best? Is there a season that you avoid when it comes to writing? Discuss.