Spending my summer

One thing that has been true as long as I can remember: I love summer. It may be because I was born in late May, so the season imprinted on me even before I could properly form memories. It may be that I'm perennially cold, and the warmth of the sun makes me feel alive. It may be that I adore the sense of freedom and possibility that comes along with sunny escapes. I'm not sure. But summer has always been the season I adore.*

Summer Sunsets are my jam. Also my doggie's jam.

Summer Sunsets are my jam. Also my doggie's jam.

Summer ephemerality juxtaposes winter's lingering hold. Every day feels valuable, like a promise that something could happen, if only you let it. Summer gives me serious FOMO. Every day has to be all carpe carpe carpe, know what I mean?

So why have I spent so many summers inside, writing?

I started my first novel in May of 2003. I'd just finished my first year of university, and I'd come home without a real plan for my summer, aside from a part time job. For some reason, I spent those 3 months writing the beginning of a novel. (I did not finish a draft for years. I was slow.) I had no idea what I was doing, but I just started doing it. The internet being what it was in '03, I had no easy way to find other writers I could talk to. I was, at the time, an island. I spent day after day sitting in my childhood bedroom (thanks mom and dad for letting me stay at home rent free. seriously.) building a world, when I wasn't working. And it was gloriously awkward and stumbly and fun.

I was delirious on words.

I spent several summers since then similarly cooped up, just me and the page (be it paper or screen). Living with fictional"friends" who didn't exist. Exploring stories that weren't true, in a literal sense. But both felt real to me.

And all the while, summer sprinted past my window, year after year. I wonder why I didn't make the most progress over winter instead. Why did summer seem like the moment I wrote the most? I think because in the summer, I feel most like myself. And that lets the words flow.

Now I long for the summers when I had more free time, with only a part time job taking up some hours. With a full time job on top of writing, it's like working two jobs, except one doesn't pay you and you're your own boss (yay!). Last summer, in particular, I spent almost every day (including every weekend) working on editing my novel to get ready for Pitch Wars, as well as researching agents. It ended up being well worth the time when I got into Pitch Wars, and had an excellent experience honing my novel. This summer, I finally have an agent (YAY!) and I spent almost six weeks working nonstop on edits and new material, all squeezed into the hours after my FT job ends and on weekends. It's hard to keep up the pace, sometimes. But it is a cost that has to be paid. It's a lot to "spend."

The point is, it's never done. You're never done. If you really want to be a writer, you will never have "a summer" in that sense of freedom again. (Granted, as adults we don't get that in general, but I mean the general feeling). Summer is time, it's a feeling, and it's a season of life that I value higher than any other season. Time wise, it's "expensive" time, to me.

I know I am missing out on lots of things in a way. But I have to tell these stories. I have to write these words. I can't really see myself doing anything else, being anywhere else. And I am so lucky to now know hundreds of other authors who feel the same way about their time and their stories. I am no longer an island.

And I would still spend every one of my summers right here, just me and the page. It's worth the cost.


*not going to lie: I also love autumn in a very passionate way. But winter is my enemy.