It’s official! Labor Day has come and gone, your summer whites are put away, and the time is right to return to work-hopefully rested and rejuvenated. If you’re anything like me, you may need a few transitional days to ease back into your usual proficient and prolific lifestyle. Here are a few tips that I’ve found helpful:
Set your alarm a little earlier every day
Longer daylight hours, a more active lifestyle, and late-night campfires frequently give us a great excuse to sleep in a little the next morning. But we all know that the early morning hours can be the best time to write (or read) uninterrupted. Slowly readjust your Circadian rhythm to fit your increased work schedule and more regimented weekday routine.
Make time for regular exercise
The fall months are still ideal for the outdoor activities you enjoyed during the summer. Walking for a few miles each day does wonders for your thought process (and waistline!) Same goes for running, biking, swimming, and gardening. Most writers know that exercise and inspiration often go hand-in-hand so make sure to take your phone or a small pad and pen with you whenever possible to jot down any ideas that unexpectedly pop into your head.
Put away the beach reads until the next vacation
Who doesn’t love a good romance, mystery, or adventure story when you’re baking on the beach or relaxing by the pool? But the cooler weather allows more concentration and deep thought, plus lots of new books have been published while you were temporarily out of circulation. Start reading for craft, research, and story ideas during the workday and save the lighter stuff for bedtime.
Get some writing-related events on your work calendar
Most college students have returned to campus which means there will soon be plenty of author readings, stimulating talks, informative workshops, and other literary events for writers to attend. Look through the newspaper or visit the school websites to see what (often free) programs you can take advantage of. Now is also a good time to sign up for a winter writer’s conference (if you haven’t already done so). Preparing yourself for it will give you extra incentive to return to writing with a vengeance!
Look for a few new writing opportunities
Mixing up your work routine by finding a new publication to write for or by experimenting with a different type of writing (haiku's anyone?) can do wonders for your mood. The reason most of us become writers is because we have an insatiable curiosity and/or desire to share what we’ve learned with others, but anyone can occasionally find themselves stuck in a writing rut, sometimes without even realizing it. Hopefully summertime gave you some empty hours to think about what you want to do and where you want to go professionally for the remaining months of 2016. Now is the time to put these thoughts into an action plan by expanding your horizons a little.
Finally-don’t push summer out the door just yet. Frame a few pictures of you and your friends, family, and pets having fun and scatter them around your office. If there is a particularly warm and spectacular day coming up during September or October, adjust your work schedule and head to the park or the beach. That’s the beauty of freelancing and, for some of us, winter will be here soon enough!