|Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in The Shining|
I've been stricken by the inevitable summer slump. This happens every year. After school, I fall into the trap of thinking, "I've earned a break," and then I take a long time off from writing. Not good. Writing is less about hitting the prosaic, first draft home-runs and infinitely more about repetition. To paraphrase Wendy Torrance from The Shining, it's simply a matter of settling into the habit of writing everyday.
An update on me and my busier, lazier life:
Probably the most important thing that's happened to me lately was receiving an email informing me I was awarded the Lakeside Lab Writing Fellowship. To date, this is my biggest writerly accomplishment. For the first time in my life, I feel like I'm not lying when I tell people that I'm a writer. When I told my Minnesota friends and family, most of them responded like good Lutherans: "What does this mean?" A writing fellowship, as far as my understanding of it goes, is a kind of award where you receive a grant/scholarship/stipend. In my case, I'll get to stay in a cabin at Lake Okoboji between August and the end of November. During that time, I'll be writing like crazy. I'll also do a few writing workshops with the locals. I'll be working a lot on my nonfiction, nature essays (hoping to do at least one a week), as well as tinkering with my sci-fi novel and some more literary short stories. The blog posts will for sure be more frequent while I'm there.
This first part of the summer has found me working once again in Plymouth, MN at Data Recognition Center. There, I grade state-standardized tests on a computer. It's not the most stimulating job, but it's nice to have a temp job for awhile and the projects typically have some gaps, hence why I'm posting this on a Thursday at 11 am. The job is a 40 hour a week job, and I have an hour drive there and an hour back. I've also been making an effort at running/biking a few times a week and my weekends have been fairly busy as well. I'm also kind of hooked on watching Doctor Who. What all of this translates to is that my time to write is a lot more limited than it's been for quite some time. During my long drives to work, I've been listening to podcasts on writing. They're mostly sci-fi based, so it's helpful for me as someone trying to break into the sci-fi genre, but I still feel that there's a lot of great info even for non sci-fi writers. Adventures in SciFi Publishing, I Should Be Writing, and Writing Excuses are my favorites so far. Author interviews on these podcasts kind of make me feel bad about my recent lack of writing. Some of them manage to produce a high quantity of work, keep up a blog, work a full time job, and be parents. I've got Doctor Who, exercising, and a large friend group. Jeez, I'm lazy. I'm thinking the trick for me is to really get going on a project to the point where I want to keep working on it. I'll be done at DRC in mid-July, and finally have some solid chunks of time to write, but still it's seriously time to crack the whip.
That's all for now. I'm going up to the cabin in a few hours for a week filled with small construction projects, catching up on my reading, experiencing nature, and hopefully some writing. I'm bringing my laptop. Hopefully it won't be just dead weight in the suitcase.