Disclaimer: I am not a fan of the summer. I prefer spring and autumn. This does not make me a weirdo. It does not mean you can call me grumpy. Only I’m allowed to do that, and I am. It does not make me weird – I have my own brand of weirdness already.
Some people just don’t fare well in heat and all that comes with it. Don’t pick on me for not embracing summer. It’s full of perils for a writer.
The Heat is On
At the time of writing, it is freaking hot out there. I realise this is relative. I’m a Brit so hot is anything where we have to take our cardigans off.
I was not built for heat. That may have something to do with the extra insulation layer I’m trying to shift. You can mock now but guess who’ll be laughing when the snow comes?
Heat makes me unproductive. I feel like I’m wading through treacle when the thermostat rises. I can barely move, let alone write.
In the heat, my brain whirrs like the fan in your computer, threatening to combust. I choose to take a lie-down and let it re-set itself.
I’d like to say that I’ve adopted another culture in my penchant for afternoon naps when it’s hot. I can’t though.
Other countries work later to make up for time lost. I just wake up, look at the clock, and decide another few minutes will do the trick.
Cue eight hours later when I’m not sure what the hell my body clock is doing anymore. No writing done.
What kind of sorcery is this that says we must have more daylight hours in the summer? More daylight = more guilt about not doing the day job.
There’s something good about it being dark. It means it’s night time, even if it is only 4pm. We must not overwork ourselves and do extra in the evenings, right?
Daylight in the evenings is a cunning minx, devised to make writers get stressed.
Bring back dark afternoons when I could pretend my working day was over.
I didn’t used to get hayfever. I was sympathetic enough to those who did but wondered why they had to make such a fuss about it.
This year the pollen count has gone stratospheric and I have discovered the hell of hayfever.
No-one, let alone a writer, can do much when your nose is running a river. Scratching like you have scabies doesn’t help either.
I am currently deciding whether I need a scalp and if I scratch any harder what the likelihood of my eyeballs popping out is.
If anyone dares to say that writers usually work inside and shouldn’t suffer from hayfever, I will hunt you down.
That pesky pollen creeps into the cracks and crevices and assaults my nasal passages, skin, eyes, and throat overnight.
Nothing prepares you for your writing day like having a closed up throat and looking like you’ve done a few rounds with Mike Tyson.
I’ve come to the conclusion that lovely as they are to look at, flowers, trees, and grass are ejaculating the devil’s spawn and having a bloody good laugh about it too.
Yesterday’s spontaneous decision, ‘Let’s go to the beach, do some editing there, and it will be so much nicer than being stuck indoors’.
Yes, it was lovely in a beach type, sea in front of me, kind of way.
Yes, I felt a little smug working on the beach when other people are stuck in offices and the like.
No, not cool to come home and find sunburn patches where the sun cream didn’t go. Why are there always those few spots you miss?
No, not cool to spend most of my times swatting flies away who really love bright white paper. I may have more squashed insects on my manuscript than corrections now. I also swallowed a few but that’s extra protein.
I tried writing in the garden too. I am someone who is a bit crap with noise. I’ve learnt to tune some of it out but why is it, when I go into the garden, the world comes outside and gets really noisy?
I swear my neighbours have cameras trained on my house and are poised to strike when I go outside to work.
Suddenly everyone has a crying baby, even the elderly couple who live alone. The neighbours feel the need to entertain us with their gangsta rap at full volume. Kids decide to play a game of ‘My decibels are higher than yours’.
I go back inside where the world can’t hurt me and I won’t disintegrate. I’m probably a vampire.
Everyone Wants to Do Something
In Blighty, as soon as a ray of sunshine hits, everyone decides they must be doing something. The ‘something’ must involve large groups of people, including you.
Trips and days out are great for writers, don’t get me wrong. You don’t need to tell me twice to take a rest. Offer me a holiday and my suitcase will be packed in record time.
What makes ‘doing all the summer days out things’ tricky is when you’re on a roll with your writing. Nothing is more complicated than finally hammering out your first draft after suffering chronic writer’s block, only to have your loved ones decide you must have some organised fun.
You can’t leave your writing. If you stop right now your brain will shrivel, your fingers fall off, and your ideas will go off on their own holiday.
Because you’re a nice person, you go with your family on a hike, to the beach, or something of the like and you smile sweetly throughout. Inside you are waving goodbye to your novel that is leeching from your mind and body every second you’re away from it. But hey, you had fun, right? Right?
They say ladies perspire and horses sweat. Bull.
I envy those women who walk around in the heat in their floaty, light-coloured chiffon dresses, looking cool and collected.
Not a bead of sweat threatens their foundationed foreheads. Damp patches do not dare to form on their backs, or other more vulgar places. Not even a hint of redness blooms their cheeks.
Who are these women? I have a theory they’re robots, sent to make sweaty birds look bad.
There’s nothing good about having your clothes sticking to you like a second wet skin.
Discovering that even your knees sweat is most troubling.
Slick fingers on keyboards are not conducive to writing.
The Good Parts of Summer
In the interest of balance, summer isn’t always so bad for the writer. Below is a list of why it’s good.
I don’t seize up with the cold as I sit at my desk.
Ice cream tastes better when it’s hot. Who am I kidding? Ice cream is good all the time.
Er. That’s it.
Over to You
What do you not like about the summer? How does the summer hinder your work and productivity, writer or not?
Don’t tell me I’m grumpy in the comments. I already know.