Sunday, July 15, 2012

Five Things I Love About Summer

Only five more months of sabbatical to go.

Cue the wailing and tearing of clothes and throwing sand in my hair. No. Not really. In fact, I'll probably be back at work sooner than that. Ideas began to flow for the next Holmes & Moriarity story and I've started writing again -- very slowly. It's okay though because I realized the other evening that I'm never going back to the madness that was my old writing schedule. It isn't writing itself that I dread, it's that lunatic schedule I devised.

Well, devised makes it sound like I had a plan. That schedule more or less just happened to me. I had to write (and sell) a certain amount of books to earn a living, and because I had no idea what that might be, I accepted every single proposal that came my way. Thus the year I turned out 13 unique works.

Not something I recommend.

But -- as I keep reminding myself -- I'm never going back to that. Four unique works a year is going to be my target number moving forward. I can't promise all those works will be novels. They may be novellas. They may be short stories. The only thing I know for sure is I'm not the literary equivilent of a jukebox. Those writers are out there, and the readers that are all about quantity versus quality have plehenty to choose from. Cue the Bob Dylan: That' ain't me, babe. No, no, no. That ain't me.

And it never will be. And I'm okay with that. I don't need to make a fortune. I need to earn enough to pay my bills -- health insurance included -- and I need to feel good about the work. Otherwise I might as well go back to being a corporate overlord.

(Hey, you need to buy my books because you do NOT want me for your boss.)

That realization that I control this...that moving forward I will be working at a sane and reasonable pace has done a lot to calm my anxiety down.

So. In the interests of making each moment count, of focusing on the here and now, here are five things I love about summer.

1 - Sunset. The end of the day is a beautiful thing. Especially if it's been a productive day.

2 - Cocktails. What is there not to like about evenings spent with friends? Especially when a modest amount of alcohol is involved and everyone is feeling relaxed and happy.

3 - Hammocks. Does anyone use their hammock in the winter? What is more relaxing than swaying gently beneath clouds or stars?

4 - Swimming. Oh yes. You knew that was coming. I love, love, love the water. There is nothing more immediate and centering than diving into cold water. It clarifies the thoughts and cools off the body.

5 - Reading. Ideally reading in a hammock. But a lounge chair will do. Or even the grass. Or clean, crisp sheets and the five minutes or so of reading before you fall into sleep at night.

For me summer is all about letting go, letting loose, relaxing. What is summer to you?