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My Superpower is Slacking Off

[1]
Photo from Pixabay

It’s summer where I am, and the days are hot and heavy. Condensation beads the sides of my glass of ice tea. The dog rests motionless in front of the fan and the lines of my WIP, which should be marching across the computer screen like ants across hot pavement, are still.

It’s summer. The season of unlimited time and no time at all.

I forget this every year. September to June I’m mired by the school calendar, my days shaped by carpools and sporting events, by ballet classes and dance recitals, physicals and eye exams and parent teacher conferences and threaded beneath it all my own writing assignments. The days pass in a blur of one hour increments stitched together on my phone’s calendar, goals scribbled in my bullet journal at the beginning of year and the month adding meaning and shape. I block time for my novel the same way I schedule vet appointments, dutifully and at regular intervals.

But in summer, time unspools like a ribbon. The car sits in the driveway. The computer stays in its case. I tell myself there will be plenty of time for writing after the beach, after ice cream, after one last late night of playing cards with old friends and swimming in my parents’ pool and walking out at midnight to see the stars. Tomorrow I’ll rise early and get those last 100 pages done. I have plenty of time.

And then it’s four days before August, three weeks before the start of school madness again and I’ve accomplished absolutely no writing. I feel guilty and lazy and worthless. But I’m still staying up late watching movies and playing cards, I’m still going to the beach and pool instead of sitting in front of my computer, I’m still sleeping in and going on ice cream runs.

Herman, our unofficial beach mascot, lolling around.

So if you are like me, how to get back on the writing wagon? More importantly, how to WANT to get back on that wagon again?

Here are a few tricks I’ve found that help:

I may not be quite there yet, but self-forgiveness is an important power to have. And if I’m not writing, I need to try and fully embrace whatever I’ve chosen to do instead. Otherwise, I’m not serving either activity — or myself — well.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the waves are calling.

Do you have tricks for getting back on track when faced with writing distractions? And what’s your writing superpower?

About Liz Michalski [4]

Liz Michalski's first novel, Evenfall, was published by Berkley Books (Penguin). Liz has been a reporter, an editor, and a freelance writer. In her previous life, she wrangled with ill-tempered horses and oversized show dogs. These days she's downsized to one husband, two children and a medium-sized mutt.