It’s been fall for a few days now, and it’s probably the third one in a row where I can look back on my summer writing and actually feel fairly impressed. Usually, summer is terrible for my writing. In my part of Ontario the summers are scorching, humid, and long. Many people love this, but I tend to wilt and become sluggish and annoyed. In the past this has meant my writing becomes sluggish too, and I don’t really produce much of anything at all. However, since the year I started writing my first novel, not writing in the summers simply wasn’t an option. It just wouldn’t work. And I suppose since that time my brain has learned to dust itself off and get on with it, even when the sun sizzles my skin after five minutes outdoors.
Some things help: Writing on my balcony (above), where it’s actually quite pleasant for most of the day, and having a project to work on that excites me. I wrote in my TinyLetter recently about how much of my mind palace is taken up with the storage of ideas, histories, facts, details – all those tiny things that create the scaffolding I can actually support the narrative with. So while it doesn’t really look like I’m doing a lot of work, there is a lot happening.
The highlight of my writing summer, though, was a quick midweek trip my husband and I took to Manitoulin Island at the beginning of September. We both love visiting Tobermory and have always been curious about nearby Manitoulin, and we thought it was a good time to finally go. We chose an off-grid Airbnb cottage in the forest that looked perfect. It was perfect, but what I didn’t know beforehand was that it also had a quite extensive library! It was like the secondhand book store of my dreams – and I got to live in it for three days. I did more writing than I had planned on there, both on the deck overlooking the lake, and at the desk nestled in a corner of two bookshelves with rain and thunder rolling outside. It was pretty damn magical and something I’m so pleased happened, especially since I hadn’t planned on it at all.
One thing I have planned, however, is an actual DIY writing retreat next month. In the past I’ve booked myself a hotel room to spend a weekend writing, and thought it was about time I did it again. I’m very excited and hope that, by then, I will have enough novel scaffolding ready that I can actually let some narrative happen. Fingers crossed!