It’s summertime and the writing is, well sometimes it’s hard to write in the summer. That’s why I don’t even try anymore. I have learned that summer is supposed to be about relaxing and enjoying myself, visiting with friends and family and just lolling about in the garden or at the beach. But the craziest thing happens when I give myself permission to relax. I get these amazing ideas.
It’s almost like unlocking a safe. Once I open up my mind and loosen my grip on the day to day, the universe releases all of this energy about the possibilities, the writing possibilities, of the future. So as I relax by the water I take a notepad or a small notebook with me and I jot down these ideas as they appear. I don’t try and analyse them or make them fit into any particular order. I just watch them appear and I write them down. When I have some quiet time later in the day, or sometimes early the next morning I take a look at them.
I still don’t try and make sense of them or where they are going, or supposed to go. I observe them and then I put them away. But here’s the cool thing. After my summery days at the beach or lying in the hammock reading a good book are over I take them all out again. As I read these random notes I realize that they’re not really random at all. They have transformed into a story line or a series of activities or aspects of characters in my current series that that I had never thought of before. Sometimes even new characters and ideas for new stories are there. It’s kind of like Christmas morning for a writer!!
So I don’t write in the summer anymore. I have realized that’s not my job. My job is to listen and observe and take notice of what is happening underneath the surface. All I have to do is sit back and relax. I can do that. I’m actually quite good at it.
After the summer is over I have not only gotten myself back into a healthy frame of mind from just taking it easy, I also have these great ideas to work on. Some become the seeds that grow into the next Sgt. Windflower Mystery while others are left to ferment and grow inside of me. Still others never become anything more than that cool breeze you feel every so often on a hot summer day, they are not supposed to be anything but a thought, an idea, or maybe just a way to help you and your brain relax.
That’s how I’ll be spending my summer. Not really looking for inspiration but ready to jot it down when inevitably comes. How about you?
Mike Martin is the author of the Sgt. Windflower Mysteries which are set in Newfoundland at the easternmost tip of Canada. His latest book is A Twist of Fortune, available from Amazon in paper and Kindle all over the world, and in Canada through Chapters/Indigo/Coles and select independent book stores.
Book Signings in June
Chapters Queensway in Toronto on Friday June 26 7-9 pm
Chapters Kingston in Kingston on Saturday June 27 1-4 pm