Summer is a time for kicking back, for putting your feet up, for drinking that sweet ice tea, and for avoiding responsibilities. But it’s also an opportunity to knock out some of those projects which you can’t tackle at any other time of year. The long daylight hours, the relaxed atmosphere, and the constant barrage of creative inspiration both on- and offline make for a potent mix–one you should take advantage of, albeit while still giving yourself the time and space to recover from another frenetic year, another long winter.
This is why I love goals. Goals keep ups focused, and on point, and help us prioritize. Without goals, everything hits us all at once: every responsibility, every task, every responsibility. But with a well-defined goal or two, we know exactly what the core of our mission for the month or week or day is, and everything else–well, everything else, we can forgive or forget or allow ourselves to do “just enough.” It’s really important not to be a perfectionist in everything, if your goal is to relax and still be productive.
So, goals! What should they be? Of course, you’re the only one who can and should decide upon your own goals. In lieu of telling you what yours should or could be, here are mine:
Summer is a deceptive time. I say “deceptive” because while it is in fact true that it tends to be a calm, rich, slow time of year … it is also busy. So very busy. Especially if you have a family, enjoy sports, and also have to go to work every day. There are car rides to manage, kids to keep tabs on, meals to prepare as always–and the list goes on. Because I’m the sort of person whose first instinct is to knock out all of these necessities first and put everything else on hold until they’re all done, I often find myself approaching the end of the day having done no writing at all … and exhausted. I never do my best writing in the afternoon, much less the evening. So my personal goal is to write, to write every day (even if it’s just a short paragraph), and to write first thing in the morning after I wake up. Quantity doesn’t matter so much, as long as I’m constantly generating new material, and carving out a set time in the day when I’m at my best is a decision I have to make–or else it will never happen.
Structure my Writing … Loosely.
There are a lot of ways to do this, and I use several of them myself. I have heard of several authors who leave off every writing session mid-sentence, just so that when they come back to that page they are forced to finish a thought before beginning a new paragraph or page–and they often say that this is somehow less daunting than facing that proverbial blank page at the beginning of every writing session. I’ve tried this, and it works! Or at least I should say: It works for me. I recommend giving it an attempt, just to see if it works for you.
Another idea to try is the prompt. I’ll write more about this next week, but don’t underestimate the creative potential to a writing prompt! I love them because–if I find just the right one–the hard work of coming up with a place to start is already taken care of. All I have to do is respond. And on some busy mornings (and afternoons and evenings) that’s all I can muster: response. They are the first and most consistently reliable way of conquering the dreaded Writer’s Block in my little world of constant struggle.
Look, it’s not important that you adopt any specific one of my own personal goals. If I’ve learned anything over my years of dealing with the writing process, it’s that every writer has to take ownership of it before it feels right. Before it feels authentic. But I think the core message holds true: Summer is a natural time for writing goals, every bit as much as it’s a time for hitting the beach or the trails. Writing is never easy in this frenetically busy world, and that’s okay. Goals help us move forward, despite everything.
You are not alone. ♣︎
|ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.|