| David Gane

Summer Break 2016

Vacation time is done, kids are back in school, and I am back on the blog.

Where the heck have I been?

I took the summer off from posting anything on the blog.

But this doesn't mean I've been just relaxing. Besides camping, traveling through three provinces, and spending some time at the cabin, I was also working.

For most of July and August, Ang and I were finishing up the first draft of Book 2 (tentatively called Shepherd’s Watch) as well as doing first and second edits on it.

Along the way, I picked up a few lessons:

1. Summer breaks are good.

Although I didn't quit working, I scaled back the amount I was trying to do but removing blogging from my schedule. This free time let me hang out with the family, travel, and enjoy time in the sun.

I have only so much room in my head to process things and removing critical thinking gave more room for the heavy duty work required to piece together the new book.

2. Don't leave things to the last minute.

I put myself in a pickle this year.

While I taught in the first part of the year, Ang worked on the book. It wasn't until sometime in May that I finally started doing my part. Yet, having left things too long, I struggled to get the words down.

I have to train my brain to write over long periods of time, like building endurance up for running. If I haven't written for a while, I'll feed when the brains runs out of steam and everything after that is simply painful.

At a certain point, time and stamina worked against me and I fell behind.

3. Bit by bit...

This is the counterpoint to the above thought: a little bit of work everyday over a long period of time can create magnificent results.

Writing only 500 words a day is only about two pages. It allows us to get 182,500 words down a year. Divide that up how you want, but that could be possibly one really big book or several small ones.

As well, this light pace keeps your endurance flowing, so no struggle to get back in the groove.

4. The Reset

This lesson came from my wife.

After a trip, I would be exhausted. I would be lazy the next day, surf the web, watch a lot of YouTube videos, and possibly eat food. I wouldn't write or get out for any exercise.

I had to kick myself out of the house on these days, go over to Starbucks (sometimes at 5:30 am), and force myself to work.

And I would do lots. I'd work all morning and finally leave around lunch time only because I was hungry and a belly full of java goodness was no longer doing it for me.

I think it worked because I knew I never wanted to be sitting in a coffee shop watching videos but also because I felt I was making a commitment to myself and the work that I simply wasn't doing when I sat on the office couch at home.

5. Distance writing

The ideal for Ang and I is to be able to write from wherever in this world. This summer was a test of that.

Ang was in Greece and I was on the edge of the Rockies, or Winnipeg, or at the cabin...

Some mornings, I would be writing in Starbucks and Ang would be making notes in the same document while she sat in an internet cafe somewhere Thessaloniki 9 hours ahead of me.

Sometimes it worked. Sometimes the internet had other plans.

But it was a good test run and we've learned some lessons that we'll start applying over the next few months.

More to come

I know there are more lessons to learn, but I feel this is a good start.

It's good to be back from break and time to get back to full time hours.

Tags: Process, Writing

Leave a comment