The kids are back in school, the weather has turned cooler, like, overnight and I'm back to drafting, editing and all the other things writers do. This summer was the longest break I've taken in over nine years and I learned - or remembered - some important stuff. 1. Social Media Adds Nothing.
Sure, I love seeing what my extended family and friends, old acquaintances and fellow authors are up to. And sometimes there are enlightening articles. But the gigantic time-suck black hole these threads become swallows up any positives. I am happier and more productive ignoring Facebook, Twitter and the like. I need to remember this.
2. You Really Only Need to Check E-Mail Once or Twice a Day
This isn't true for everyone, but I don't govern a country or run a multi-billion dollar company or even deal with patients or clients. My life isn't that time-sensitive and it's so much nicer to find things I've been hoping to hear about waiting for me versus anxiously checking for them all day.
3. Read, Read, Read
Since my last blog post, I read eight books, some adult, some YA. I read thrillers, mysteries, romance, dystopia. Some were great, some mediocre, some just not really my thing. All of them helped me be more critical of my own work. I'll approach my manuscripts this fall with a better perspective because I did more reading.
4. The World is Big
We went to Hong Kong, Bali and Singapore for vacation this August. I'd never been to any of them and different places feel...different. Bali smells like incense. Chewing gum is illegal in Singapore. I ate jellyfish in Hong Kong (blech). Our kids each had a camera and their pictures are a window on their perspective. That was a big trip, but we did much smaller ones, too. To the city and upstate NY and PA. And there are different smells and different stuff to see in all those places, too. My point? Its good to get out. There's lots to experience. Inspiration is everywhere.
Yesterday was the first day of school. My youngest started kindergarten so, after a summer of days together, they were all gone.
I missed them. And I'm glad I left our free time over the last two months free for Monopoly and day trips and hanging out. Its not like all the days were perfect - there was fighting and yelling and we all got on each others' nerves sometimes - but that's not what we'll remember about this summer.
And when I got back to the too-quiet house yesterday, my manuscripts were patiently waiting:
- ~The one that comes out next year got a revised title THIS IS HOW IT ENDS and tentative release date of October 7, 2014 over the summer.
- ~The one that's almost done was on my desk, marked up with notes ready for input.
- ~The one I'm drafting will come next, but I typed in a new opening paragraph and some notes after thinking about things that really worked and didn't in the books I read this summer.
- ~And, thanks to something heard in Bali, I have a new idea and the start of a first chapter for one after that.