At least half the writers I know do no actual writing in the summer. Too hot, they say. Or too nice outside. Or too many pina coladas to slam down before Labour Day.
If that’s your jam, fine. But if there are any of you out there who–because of looming deadlines, because you’re developing the habit of consistency, because you’re just in the middle of a damn good story–want to write your heart out this summer, come with me. I can show you the way.
The first novel that I’m willing to call by the name* was written in the middle of a scorcher, with 40 degree days and no air conditioning. And I’ve written every summer since. So, with that track record behind me, here are my best tips for putting brain to page during the dog days.
1) Get Up Earlier. The sun’s up. You should be, too. I love getting up at 5:30 in the summer. It’s still cool but the sun’s out, the streets are quiet (a bonus if you run like I do in the morning), and it generally gets things off to a good start. The day unfolds before you, leaving you with so much time to get the words down. Plus your laptop has not yet become a crotch-scorching brick of fire.
2) Trail of Bread Crumbs. Make some notes for yourself the night before to remind you where you have to go the following day. Make at least one of them a really good thing: that scene you really want to write, the character you want to play with, the submission you really want to get away. Something to look forward to. Something that makes you excited, god damn it. If nothing excites you…maybe you need to think long and hard about your project.
3) Learn to make iced coffee. Cold brew, baby. Or pour espresso over ice.
4) Get Out From Under The Laptop. No one likes baked writer junk. No one. I use a standing desk pretty much year round, which keeps the Aluminum Fire Brick off my lap, an especially valuable option when the mercury rises.
Other options: start using a notebook for pre-work, getting on the computer only to do actual writing; stop dicking around online so much so you can finish faster; place the laptop on a block of ice.** Or, best yet, take your work outside. No reason to miss out on the beach because you want to write. Take a notebook and a pen with your sunscreen and you’re good to go.
Go forth and write, my sweltering word badgers. By the fall, you’ll have something interesting, even if it is covered in sweat stains.
*My second finished manuscript. The first is best not spoke of.
**I was going to write DO NOT ATTEMPT, but I think if you do this, you deserve exactly what happens to you.