July is an important month for writing. We’re in the middle of the summer, it’s hot outside, the pool and beach are trying to dominate our free time, and there are way too many good movies in theaters right now. Some people find it easier to write when the days are longer and the weather is nice because they’re in a better mood. Some people find it easier to write in January when the days are short and cold because a steaming cup of coffee (or hot chocolate if you’re a traitor) somehow makes the wood of your desk seem comfortable. If you’re the kind that writes better in summer, you better write in July, because if you don’t you can’t really expect to write in January when you’re depressed. If you prefer writing in the winter, July is the toughest month, but if you make this month a good one you’ll show yourself that you’ve got a solid handle on the whole writing thing.
So happy July everyone.
June was a great month and it went by fast. I set three writing goals and I’m happy to say that I met them all. I finished revising Embracing Ghosts, let people read it, and got great feedback (the kind that says, ‘Hey, you don’t suck. This is something I wouldn’t be too surprised to find on a bookshelf.’). I also revised The Man in the Black BMW, got even better feedback on that, and will be sending it out to a few places next month. Finally, and most fun of all, I’ve started my new project and made a lot more progress on it than I thought I would.
Big Life Events:
I start work July 14. I just got my group assignment and I couldn’t be happier with it. I’ll be working on the Large Enterprise team’s Finance Practice (which is consulting mumbo jumbo for finance and accounting work). It’s exactly what I wanted, but it’s going to be challenging too – full days and an hour long commute each way. All of this means that I’ll never have had less time to write, so I’m going to have make a real effort. The metro ride is long but hopefully I can get stuff done while I’m on it (writing, reading, brainstorming, or whatever else).
Writing Events – Goals for July:
1. As I mentioned in other posts, for me the beginning of a book involves a lot of crazy ideas and free writing, then hours and hours finding the pieces that connect and create a great story. If I jump right in my story won’t be nearly as suspenseful, well planned, or, to be honest, cool. The mysteries, the twists and turns, the great backstory, I find that most of this comes from that one month period of lightning (not that I don’t think of many more things while I’m working). At the end of the month I want to be finished with my brainstorm, have all the dots I want connected in an organized outline, and be ready to break the story into scenes and write.
2. Have all of the character sheets and backstory ready for the main people in the book. I’ll add to this as I go, but I already have the main players in my head. I just have to get them down.
3. Read five good books by great writers and take one writing lesson from each of them. Write the lessons down in my ‘Elements of a Great Book’ document and work on remembering how and why they worked, and how I can use them in my own writing. I’ll share these at the end of the month.
Random Thing for July:
I’m going up to New York City for the 4th. I’ll be staying with and seeing a ton of my friends and going out a lot, but I’m going to wake up every day and write something through the pounding hangover, even if it’s just a paragraph or a single idea.
What are your goals for July? How did you do in June? Do you get more or less writing done during the summer months? (Or winter months for you southern hemisphere weirdos). Do you like writing better in the summer or winter?
Each month is just one month of a year, of the many years of your life. In the grand scheme of things it may not seem like much, but in five years you could have set and met 60 small goals, or you could have set 60 goals and met 30 of them, or you could have let the time go by happily but unproductively. You could be published, famous, and rich, you could be living humbly where you were but happy with the five books and amazing progress you’ve made, or you could be exactly where you were five years ago and okay with that. There is no right answer, just keep your dreams in mind when thinking about whether or not it’s worth setting goals this month. They add up.