Ernest Hemingway said that when the weather got too hot in the summer, it was better to go fishing than to perspire at his desk trying to write.
Prompt: What is summer writing like for you? Do you ease off because of the heat and many other activities? Or do you have time off from your job in which to devote to your art? Or perhaps your summer writing is no different from any other season. How does God direct your writing during this time?
A New Strategy
In the past, my writing drops off in the summer months because I’m more active, with gardening, longer hikes/walks, travelling around Alberta more (if I’m not on a longer travel journey) and attending more family events. I’ve tended to spend more time journaling, while letting work on my specific projects be somewhat haphazard or irregular at best.
However, last month’s blog theme focused my thoughts in a new direction: “How could my writing please God this summer?”
As I prayed, God gave me a systematic strategy for these active months.
By providence, I came across a blog post by Lisa Dale Norton, a memoir writing instructor, who advised that during the summer, writers would do well by writing smaller pieces at a time: “write just scenes, and don’t worry about how they fit together yet.” She advocated listing scenes that are essential to your story, record on your calendar a realistic writing schedule, then show up at your computer or desk and write a scene.
“Each time you sit down, you look at the next scene on your list of moments that make up your story. You watch the moment play out in your mind as you remember it again. You transcribe what you see, feel, and hear onto the page--no matter how skeletal the shape...”
Her idea resonated with me. I could do this over the next weeks. I would, however, not schedule myself too hard and fast, as events come up that pre-empt writing.
I listed scenes or short vignettes in my ongoing project—about thirty pieces—each of which I could write in an hour. Some I have to write from the beginning, others need revising or expanding. As I complete the draft of one vignette, I know which one I need to work on next.
Already I’ve received benefits of God’s strategy for more systematic writing through summer; it’s giving me a sense of stability, order and focus. And this process is pleasing to God.
The Apostle John said it well, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22 KJV).