I hate the sun. I love the rain. That’s one reason I left Northern California for Seattle exactly two years ago.
But most people aren’t like me. They enjoy warm sunshine, and take advantage of it whenever they can. For most people in the United States, that means summertime.
Many writers are solitary, indoor creatures by nature. However, many are not. I personally know authors that love sports at least as much as they love their craft. That means as a participant as well as a spectator. They are both literary and athletic. Those are not mutually exclusive characteristics.
Being a writer doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the ordinary pleasures of life, especially the one that have nothing to do with literature. Some professionals claim you need to write every day, even if you don’t feel like it, just to keep “in practice.” I agree it’s good to keep those creative mechanisms greased, but I don’t see the point in grinding them until they’re stripped of any inspiration whatsoever.
Your writing environment matters as much anything else regarding your career, including promotions. Find out what your ideal atmosphere is, then do your best to either exist wholly within that realm, or visit it as often as possible. Even if it's a nearby duck pond.
Peace of Mind Is Priceless - and Profitable
While dedication to a regimen may prove productive for some writers, for others it may very well deplete them of the energy to persevere, and in fact backfire to the point where they decide it’s not even worth the effort.
I’m not suggesting you should only write when you feel like it. I’m also not saying you should wait for artistic lightning to strike out of the clear blue sky. But forcing yourself to write out of a sense of manufactured obligation (as opposed to sincere commitment) seems counter-intuitive to me.
The two main reasons to write, from my perspective, are livelihood, and love. If you have a deadline to meet, then yes, you will have to forego social obligations or just plain fun to turn that assignment in on time, for the sake of your income.
But many writers do it because it’s compulsive. They gain satisfaction simply from the act of writing, even if it’s hard. I’ve never found writing to be a chore, whether it’s commissioned or not. Some writers openly complain about how difficult the process can be for them, however, even though they ultimately find it worth the effort, whether the rewards are artistic or monetary.
In any case, you need to take breaks not only throughout the day, but perhaps even schedule an actual vacation for yourself, even if it’s a “staycation.” Otherwise, trust me, you will go stir crazy and your writing will suffer accordingly. Take it from someone that hates just leaving his house, especially when it’s “nice” (sunny) outside.
Stop to Smell the Roses, Or Whatever
If you are an average human and love the sun, maybe schedule your daily writing routine, if you feel you must have one as a matter of discipline, early in the morning, or in the evening. No reason to feel “guilty” for not “working” when everyone else is stuck inside an office. Nor should you feel like you're a freak if you'd rather finish your novel than lounge around the beach. Listen to your own conscience.
As a writer, day job notwithstanding, you have the freedom to make your own hours. Since you’re your own boss, you may as well be be a nice one. Studies have shown that pleasant working environments and fair treatment of the staff yields greater productivity, and by extension, greater profits.
This works even when you’re self-employed and self-motivated. Cut yourself some slack, give yourself a break – literally – and you will return to work refreshed and reenergized, even if that means just taking a casual stroll around the block, admiring the flowers and trees.
And maybe eventually you’ll make enough money to take a real vacation sometime.
Meantime, enjoy yourself – both in front of your computer, and far, far away from it.
PHOTO: MEDIUM AS MUSE