This week’s Social In Network post being added to the Writer’s Library On Writing here…
The Summer is Over Blahs
Summer. We all have things we associate with summer. Fun. Freedom. Vacations and outdoor activities. Swimming, biking, the beach, gardening—smelling the roses and their leaves and stems.
Some authors continue to work during the summer—but they do it from the beach or a cabin in mountains or some other retreat where the rest of the world is blocked out. Some authors don’t work at all during the summer. They actually do retreat and go on hiatus. Take walking tours of distant lands, work in gardens, just live their lives without writing.
Which type of summer style appeals depends on the author. For some, the change in place or atmosphere is a great refresher. For others, it breaks their stride and they lose momentum. For some, taking the summer off gives the author a chance to refill his or her creative well and rejuvenate so that s/he fuels the desire to write and gains perspective and clarity on what s/he wants to write.
Regardless of which type author you are, eventually summer ends and it’s back to work and your regular or revised schedule. And if you’re the type of author who takes no summer break, you’re most susceptible to falling victim to the “summer is over” blahs.
If you’ve been through this before, you know to expect the blahs, but if you’ve tried something new or you’re experiencing them for the first time, you might not see the blahs coming. You think, “Gee, I am well rested. I’m refueled and ready to go. My batteries are all charged and I have a clear vision in my head of what I want to do, yet I have no desire or energy to do any of it. And so you ask, what’s wrong with me?
You’ve got a case of the summer-is-over blahs, and that’s the long and short of it.
It really doesn’t matter what career you’re in—the blahs are not exclusive to the authors—everyone reacts to the change of seasons in some way. That’s important to know—it isn’t just happening to you.
So okay, we’ve identified the problem. Oh, it often masquerades as something else. Sometimes depression, sometimes physical illness, sometimes just an uneasiness or an inability to “settle down and settle in” and get going again. But we know what’s really going on is the seasonal shift and there’s only one way to handle it constructively.
We have to change our attitude. That’s it. That’s the key to breaking the lock that has us in blah chains. Change our attitude.
Surely, you say, it can’t be that simple. But it is. You have the means to do it.
If you’re struggling with how to make the shift, here are some tips:
1. Having the blahs is a choice. Choose not to have them. How? Be grateful for what you have. If you got a break, had a retreat, or worked straight through the summer—it doesn’t matter. Be grateful for whatever kind of summer you had. There are blessings to be counted in working, not working; in retreating, not retreating. The bottom line is that you’re upright and able. You had the summer and you’re here and upright and able to have a fall. Keep this stuff in perspective. A bad day able to do what you wish or must is better than a good day unable to do anything you wish or must. So count your blessings. You had a great summer.
2. Look ahead. You had a great summer and now you look ahead to the fall. What do you see? What have you done or what do you hope to do to give yourself something stellar to look forward to this fall? You can bemoan the fact summer’s over or look ahead to fall and create a spectacular season for yourself. Which of the two is going to make you more content? More fulfilled? Happier?
3. Create a reward system. Look further ahead to next summer. Set a goal for yourself. If I do x by April, then in June I’ll do x as a reward. It might be to buy yourself a new printer. Or your kids a swingset. Or to take a trip that you’ve always wanted to take. Or to pay off a credit card. You choose your nirvana—something that matters to you—and then work toward it. Set interim goals along the way—monthly, if that’s what it takes to hold your focus—and celebrate each of the goals you meet or exceed.
A secret: What gets your attention, gets your attention. And when something has your attention, you greatly increase your odds of getting it or avoiding it. Whichever is your vision of success on that particular thing. Why? You notice more opportunities and look at things through the prism of how things impact your goal. So give your attention to what matters to you.
Yes, summer is over. But the blahs are optional. Wallow in them at your own risk—or set out to make this your most fabulous fall!
Vicki Hinze is the award-winning, bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest releases are: Duplicity (military romantic thriller,)Torn Loyalties (inspirational romantic suspense), Legend of the Mist (time-travel romantic suspense), One Way to Write a Novel (nonfiction). She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. www.vickihinze.com.