Here in the Northwest, summer draws near softly: sometimes whispering with rain, at other times beaming with pleasure. Winds ruffle the chimes. For me, it becomes a little easier to stop during my daily wanderings and just listen, or look, or breathe. The sky keeps changing, and I feel myself changing too, shucking off a little the “to do” mindset in favor of a more spacious perspective.
And yet, of course, a different kind of “to do” sidles in: the “to do” of writing, of art. If I let it, this artistic “to do” will become just as onerous and stressful as the challenges of my workday life. There are so many “shoulds” that get in the way. The added challenge for us Northwesterners is that when the weather is nice, the pull to be outdoors is strong, strong, strong: an urge that can be the opposite of what’s needed to hunker down and write.
So, it was with great pleasure and relief that I received Midge Raymond’s summer newsletter from her website Remembering English. As soon as I saw the subtitle, “How to Keep Writing Even When the Weather is Too Nice For Writing,” I was able to take a deep breath and say Hallelujah! Here is the tip that made me relax:
Aim to write for just 15 minutes a day. The idea here is that this is a commitment that’s too short to stress about, but just enough to get a little bit done, and it usually ends up being more than you think; I now aim for 30 minutes a day (if not even more). Granted, there are always a few things that don’t get done if the writing goes long, but it’s usually worth it!
Midge also provides weekly writing prompts; here are her first summer prompts:
- Describe the first time you saw the ocean.
- Write for one minute about each of the following: firefly, watermelon, lake, sand, ice.
- Describe your first sunburn.
- Write about a summer night.
- Describe your favorite summer food/drink.
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Here’s hoping your summer is both relaxing and fruitful,