Veteran writer Dean Wesley Smith dubs the summer months the Time of the Great Forgetting. It’s that point in the year when the good intentions of New Year’s Resolutions made in the depths of winter fall by the wayside in bright light of hot summer days when the pull to do just about anything other than writing draws writers away from their keyboards. It’s only in later summer and early fall when writers remember their annual goals and either charge full-stream ahead and barrel to the end of the year, desperately hoping to achieve their milestones, or just give up and do something else.
He speaks the truth.
But I’ve come to see the summer months as an almost perfect time capsule to get things done, including writing.
Starting with Memorial Day and ending on Labor Day in September, summer has a definitive beginning and ending. The only span of time that rivals this is Halloween-to-New Year’s Day. Unlike the holidays—which a chock full of known events and Christmas pageants visits to friends and family—the summer months are largely unstructured. School’s out, vacation season is in, and we all get to collectively breath deep for a few short weeks before we do it all again in the fall.
The summer vibe is looser. We wear different types of clothes. We read different kinds of books, the beach reads if you will. And we watch certain types of movies. I’ve already seen one of my favorite movies of the year—Fast X, a rollercoaster in a movie theater—and canNOT wait until both Michael Kenton’s Batman and Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones share the multiplexes for the first time since 1989.
The clearly marked beginning and ending of summer also is the perfect time to do something creative, including writing. There are 99 days this summer—97 if you don’t include Memorial and Labor Day. Just imagine what you can do. Write a 99,000-word novel if you write 1,000 words per day. Or maybe two shorter works of, say, 45,000 words each. In the 14 weeks we get this year, you could write 14 short stories. Writing is merely a habit, and if you get into the habit of writing, it will be difficult to stop it.
Just imagine, come the Monday of Labor Day, the tremendous sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you look back over Summer 2023 and marvel at what you’ve done. It’s just like your New Year’s Resolutions but for a shorter period of time.
Your Summer Resolutions
Come to think of it, why not think of them as Summer Resolutions. Or your Summer Goals List.
So spend some time this weekend thinking about what you want to write or accomplish this summer. Make a list—on paper—hang it on the fridge, and look at it everyday. Then, each day, when you open the fridge, ask yourself if you have moved the needle forward on those goals. When you do the incremental daily work, the end result will be greater than you could imagine.