It's back to school for Debra.
The temperatures are still in the 80s...sometimes even nudging the 90s. The flowers are still blooming. The trees still have their lush foliage. And the cicadas are still buzzing. But for me, summer is over.
This week I headed back to school. I've been organizing and planning and rearranging and updating to get ready for a new set of third graders. They'll show up next week. The excitement of a new group of kids is always something I look forward to, but there are definitely things I'll miss about summer. Driving around during the day in my convertible running errands. Reading book after book out on the front porch. Weekly trips out to see my mom and dad. Staying up a little bit late. Sleeping in...ah...sleeping in...getting up early is definitely the bane of my existence.
Usually at this point I'm also lamenting the loss of my writing time. In the past, I would spend my summers tapping away at my keyboard. (The best investment I ever made was in a lap top so I could 'travel' around my house - both indoors and out - while I wrote.) I would make great progress, often finishing up, polishing, and submitting a book.
Alas, this was not the case this summer. I've noticed a gradual decline in my writing productivity over the last few summers, but this year I hit an all-time low. Aside from a few rounds of additions/revisions/edits on my New Year's Eve story, I wrote less than 200 words on new projects this summer. In some ways, this is a staggering, awful number. I knew I didn't accomplish much in the way of writing this summer, but to actually look at a number like that could be a bit depressing.
But for whatever reason...I'm okay with it. Over the past few years my writing habits have changed and evolved. I don't get most of my writing done in the summer. Summer is my brain break. Not just from school, but from 'life' as well. I scrapbook. I read. I shop. I visit with family. I explore. In essence, I don't do much of anything that has to do with 'real' life. Oh, I keep up with the mandatory stuff: paying bills, cooking, etc. But for me, summer is all about relaxing. I used to teach summer school. And I took classes and earned my Master's Degree. After completing that three year cycle, I treated myself to a summer off. Now, ten years later, I'm still taking summers off. Teaching is not the 'go-in-at-nine-and-you're-home-by-three' job most people perceive it to be. It's hard work. And it's stressful. And it's tiring. Of course it's also rewarding and fun and exciting and challenging and each day is a new day that you don't know what will bring. Knowing I'm shaping the future is an awesomely powerful privilege...and a huge responsibility.
So I take the summers off. And if people have a problem with that and think I have a cushy job...well, that's THEIR problem.
With a routine settling into place with fall approaching, I have a good feeling that my writing will get back on track too. Even if I haven't been writing at the computer, I have been thinking about ideas. I revisited a project I'd put away last year when I got 'side-tracked' by the Holidays at The Corral series. Right now that's probably what I'll be working on come fall as I get back into a routine that also includes writing. I also have ideas for two new series I'd like to pursue.
It hasn't been a totally unproductive year. All told in 2016 I'll release four books (novellas). That's not too shabby. And even though there may be a bit of a lull in my publishing output since nothing I have in the works is anywhere near ready to go, I'm okay with resting on my backlist for a little bit. I have a crazy idea for promoting my NYE story come December, so we'll see what happens with that. :)
For now, I'm going to wave good-bye to summer and welcome the upcomng autumn with open arms.
Until next time,