I have written a lot of stuff in my head in the last month. Too bad almost none of it has actually made it to the print, because some of those words and turns of phrase sounded great and might have actually entertained you. Ha.
Does this happen to you? Masterful manuscripts moving about in your head that just can’t make their way into the world? My issue is that I am just not patient enough at times (such as during a busy summer) to process from head to screen, especially when I know that the process may result in my words suddenly losing their color and flatlining because something happens in that transference to suck away the vivid nature of my internal narrative.
I always feel like summer should bring about a time of flourishing creativity. The abundance of sunny warm weather, vacation-like weekends, and the freedom of school deadlines for my kids all seem like they should add up to an artistic boom.
In reality, though, my days fill up in so many different ways, that I discover that a month can go by and I have written almost nothing.
I don’t really want to complain, though, because so far, the summer has been filled with GOOD things and ultimately, good things inspire me, which then stimulates creativity. Let me tell you how:
I spent a rapid-fire week in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I’m sure I needn’t describe all the inspiration that comes from international travel. The Nicaraguan half of the trip actually came about as true research for my current WIP, but all of the different travels by plane and bus result in rich fodder for future character development.
Dear friends of ours that have been living in Germany for the past several years stopped by for a visit (a visit that precedes a resident return to the States!) and re-discovering that in some cases, distance has no effect on picking up friendships for both young and old as our families come together and gobble up every moment of the visit. When you witness your children bonding in pre-school and then needing only a few minutes to re-acclimate to one another in their teens… that’s what good characters and stories are made of, no?
New love and new beginnings revealed themselves in a wedding this past weekend for a nephew and now official niece. Weddings always invoke joy and hope, but sometimes, a wedding comes along where it’s more than that. Nayt and Lexie went for simple and heartfelt. You could see their fingerprints all over the ceremony and reception, which was a refreshing vision in this day and age where there is competition to make everything “more than”. What I witnessed at their wedding was “we don’t need more, we already have enough and then some.” When I write love stories into my novels, this is what I strive for: authenticity of feeling and what each character brings to the relationship.
Along with new love is the privilege of witnessing lasting love. This summer marks 50 years of marriage for my partner’s parents. Fifty! To celebrate, their sons and most of their grandchildren spent time with them up in a cabin in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota. They have spent a week each summer up there for the past dozen or so years, and it was a long-time dream to be able to share the experience with their children. The juxtaposition of their grandson’s wedding and the strength of their own union could not be more fitting. I look to my in-laws and admire their journey together, knowing it has plenty of ebbs to match the flows. Can this be anything but inspiring? Can it be anything but what I use as a model for not only my own marriage, but the future I see for my characters?
So you see the dilemma. I can’t have it all this summer, but what I have is a lot, and what it will bring to my creativity injects a confidence of rejuvenation in my productivity whether it be now (in slow, measured, hard-working words) or later (fast, easy, honeyed sentences).
How do you use summer months to foster your creative side?
All this talk about summer, love, and honey… I’m going with some U2 for this post: