Saturday, May 29, 2021

100 Days: The Summer of Productivity


Scott D. Parker

Here in the US, every new president is judged by what he does in his first one hundred days. It harkens back to 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt entered office in the midst of the Great Depression and accomplished a dizzying amount of laws and regulations in a little over three months. Every subsequent president is measured by that same yardstick even though most haven't experienced the dire circumstances FDR faced. Still, everyone does it and it has become standard. In fact, it shaped President Biden's early agenda, with his administration's efforts all focused on that date.

For us creatives, having bookends by which to measure our creativity is also a good thing, but how often do we start something on any given day and then have to mark a calendar at our desired end point? Often, we literally count days on a paper calendar and do the math in our heads.

But summers provide us with obvious an obvious beginning and an obvious ending. Memorial Day kicks off the summer vibe while Labor Day concludes it. What happens in between is defined as 'summer.' It doesn't matter that summer's heat extends--at least here in Houston--into September and October. What matters is a codifed set of days that counts as perhaps the best time of the year. Yeah, the holiday season is great, too, and it is the most wonderful time of the year, but over the past decade or so, I have really started to enjoy summer. The low-key vibe, the refreshing cocktails, the grilling of anything, the summer movie blockbusters, the beach reads. It's just a great time to kick back and just take it easy.

It is also a time to work and be productive.

For those of us for whom their creative job is second to a day job, our productivity is parceled out among our day job responsibilities. It's why I wake in the 5am hour on weekdays to write and, when I'm at the office, write during lunch on my Chromebook. While doing the creative thing isn't that different during the summer than any other time of year, with a definate beginning and end, the summer season has, by default, a running clock. A countdown if you will. Labor Day can be your deadline. It's real and set in stone and everyone knows it.

So that's why I have, in the past few years, used summer as a time of greater productivity. Often I start and end something fresh. This year, however, I'm still laboring over my current work in progress, so the primary goal of summer 2021 is to complete that manuscript. And publish my next novel. 

Those are my tentpole objectives in the Summer of 2021.

What are yours?

Note: You get a 100 days if you start today. It's 99 if you start tomorrow and 98 if you start Monday. I'm not counting Labor Day as a work day. That'll be a day of celebration for completing that which you accomplished this summer.

1 comment:

Claire A Murray said...

Since I've been working on and off for months on a novella, interspersed with breaks to write or revise various short stories for looming deadlines, I'll take this 100-day challenge and aim to complete the novella, which is currently in a critique cycle as I revise existing and write new scenes. Knowing I'll be away for a conference in late August, I'll have fewer than 100 days but I think that just ups the motivation to get it done now.