Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Save August!

Summer book group participants are starting to flag. The excuses are pouring in (we're leaving for vacation on Thursday and I have to get the car inspected; my husband had the kids for all of June and July after day camp, and now it's my turn; I'm already anticipating September and all the work that will hit me when the students return; blah, blah, blah), and groups are smaller.

But ladies and gentlemen of the summer book groups, I am here to remind you of one profound, inarguable fact: August is 1/3 of summer! It's still a big chunk! Giving up on August would be as silly as giving up on July. August is a spectacular writing month, and unless you are going on vacation (I believe in true vacation), if you're in town then you can and should be cranking on that manuscript.

Here are some tips from this week's groups for making August work for you:

1. If looming work in September is starting to freak you out, write your woes down on a sheet of paper. Put the sheet of paper in a mason jar, and tighten the lid. Set it aside during your writing time, with a promise that you'll take it out of the jar and worry when you're finished writing. This trick has been known to appease the scientifically identified Worry Center of the brain.

2. If your days are feeling even blobbier than usual, make a schedule, share it with a friend, and check in with each other every morning to commit to it. This can be a nice excuse to meet someone for coffee. Yes -- check in every morning. August requires desperate measures.

3. Try to define a chunk of writing that -- when completed -- will represent a successful August. Then break that chunk down into smaller pieces that will become your weekly and daily tasks. It is only August 4 today, so imagine what can and should be true 27 days from now.

4. If you've tried and you're still flagging, make an appointment to write at Booklab every day if you have to.

Image from August: Osage County, a play I saw in NYC in June.

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