Challenge,  On Writing

It’s Here!!!

The Time of Great Forgetting..

In all my years of watching writers go through this period from April to the middle-end of July, break all streaks, get too busy to write, actually forget about writing and publishing completely, I have not seen a year this bad except for the spring two years after the pandemic. That was the worst, but this is coming in a close second this year.

Not a clue why. It is just very, very clear to watch.

So in this time, the focus is on family (as it always should be), vacations, gardens, nice weather, and just GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE.

With writing and publishing, learning goes away, practice and creating words, and publishing anything can be put off, right? Remember all those great intentions from the start of the year? No? You will remember them about August 1st. (grin)

For years I have been calling this time for writers the Time of Great Forgetting. It is very, very real. Professional long-term writers have no issue with this. It only hits those who have not gotten a complete grasp of the business of publishing and the long-term habit of writing regularly.

Amazing how five months from the first of the year can change an attitude for those who really wanted to have a great year writing and publishing this year. Again, professional writers just go right through all this since what we do is write and create stories all the time.

But how to fight this if it is hitting you?

The best way is to realize it is happening. Remember your goals. And sometimes reset at the start of every month through this time period. That will get you through it without the entire three months being a total blank. It will be a lot less than you wanted, sure. But it will help. And also help the restart in July or August. That restart is brutal from a dead stop.

So here it is almost the first of June and you still have a lot of time to reset and remember your goals. Target June 1st as a reset point. Start something to keep you focused. A class, a challenge with a friend, something. Doing that will not get in the way of getting out of the house, doing the things you really, really want to do. But it will also take the writing and publishing along through this period as something important.

Then do the same thing with July 1st. Reset goals and do something to get you focused again and be back to speed in August.

And on December 31st, when you are looking back at this year, you will be very, very glad you did.

7 Comments

  • Kate Pavelle

    Ooh, so I am not alone? I’ve been going strong till 2 weeks ago, when an out of state graduation broke my stride. The urge to just get out is real. In the past, I used to set up a folding table on the porch, reinforced my camp chair with cushions, and I got a lot of writing done away from the noises of the family. I used to take my writing to the park (we have roofed picnic shelters,) I would bring provisions and intersperse writing with a walk or a bike ride. Shoving my stuff in the car and locking it worked fine and the effort of setting up again was worth it. Then I would pick up groceries on the way back and have 3k words in my pocket, and my workout, and a house chore, all with a smile.
    I could still do that.
    I may have a handicap now (slower, shorter walks, more careful bike rides, higher activation energy threshold.) That doesn’t mean I can’t have fun the way I used to! And there is no wifi in the patk – a definite advantage!
    Thank you for the reminder, Dean. There is more than one way to braid this dough and bake it.
    (OK, screw it. I AM DEFINITELY DOING THIS AGAIN!) 🥰

  • Kristi N.

    Thank you for the reminder, Dean. I’ve been retrenching (and retrenching) and trying to get back to the sweet spot of writing. It’s easier as the days grow longer, because I can wake up early to sunlight, get the writing done, and still have time for the chores outside. It will be hard to keep the habit going as the light wanes in the fall, but hopefully I’ll have it rock solid by the time winter sets in again.

  • Vincent Zandri

    I must admit that when the warm weather hits upstate NY I find myself heading outside instead of planting myself in my writing studio. Er, that is. I take my laptop outside and set it up on the wodden table on the terrace and use that as my outdoor studio. You want to do some fishing or golfing? No problem, get the word count in first, then go for it. Probably won’t be all that crowded during a weekday either while most people are buried under a mountain of paperwork inside an office cubicle, whispering forlorenly, “I should have followed my dream to become a writer. I was always a better writer then Zandri. He just got lucky.”

  • Cynthia Gilbert

    I’ve never been through The Great Forgetting.

    I guess I never forget. I am seldom able to write every day, just most of them. I stick with it because a) I don’t give up and (most importantly) b) Writing everyday is essential for my mental health.

    It just makes me feel better. Full Stop.

    So I can’t forget, don’t want to forget.

    Also, I think checking in with Dean and Kris keeps me focused somewhat.

  • James Palmer

    I think this is a common occurrence if you’re not already writing full-time. Any little thing can throw off the writing because it’s backburnered already. I had a harder time during the first three months of the year. Now I’m finally hitting my stride. Go figure.

    Having quarterly goals helps me, as does having long-term goals. I don’t have to make a full-time living with the very next book. I only need a few books out there by the time I retire in ten years. Takes the pressure off. I also work on a quarterly schedule, rather than monthly, and plan my writing around quarterly Kickstarters.

  • Leigh Kimmel

    I hit it in March, when the day job pivoted back from winter mode (online sales only) to being on the road again. I’d been doing great productivity from mid-November to late-February, even motoring right through family medical stuff. And then I’m driving to a distant city, setting up our store in a convention hall, doing business, tearing down and loading everything back into the van, and driving home — and suddenly writing becomes bits and crumbs of time at the end of the day. Even when I’m home, I’m finding that, by the time I get all the other stuff crossed off my list, I’m doing well to have a few crumbs of writing time. I’ve finished several short stories right as the deadline is looming, and I’m not maintaining the needed progress on a longer-term project.

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