Summer has finally arrived on the west coast – after a stormy beginning, the cool overcast mornings have given way to clear skies and sultry twilights. It’s a time to sit back and breathe, maybe take some vacation time, and slow down from the rush of work and school. After six months of surviving workshops, classes, deadlines, writing prompts and readings, I’m on my own break from the Writer’s Studio for the month of August.
The summer break from the Writer’s Studio gives us freedom from the structured courses that make up the first part of the year – it’s meant to allow us to recharge and continue the momentum on the projects we started, to sit back and write on our own, without the pressure of workshop deadlines. It all sounds wonderful, but the lure of enchanting sunny days and time with family and friends can pull you away from the computer, and you know what? That’s just fine.
We don’t always need the computer to write – first drafts, outlines, descriptions, character sketches, and even edits can be done with pen and paper, notebooks and writing apps on our phones, allowing us the freedom to write anywhere. The outside world can be so stimulating for the writer. Images, feelings, thoughts and ideas can be found in the briny scent of the ocean, the haunted cry of a gull, a child’s laughter, the rumble of a motorcycle, cloud formations in the sky and, my personal favorite, road trips.
Writing is unpredictable at best, but it’s also versatile. Sometimes all it takes is a phrase or sentence to get the ball rolling, and at that point, it doesn’t matter where we are. Wherever our pens and technology can travel, we can write – at the beach, by the pool, on the restaurant patio, on the plane, in the park or even that old standard, in the coffee shop.
On my summer break, I’ll be writing poolside, on my patio and on the beaches of the Sunshine Coast while attending the yearly writing festival. I fully intend to take advantage of the amazing climate we are blessed with on the west coast, while still charging ahead with my project. I have all winter to be cooped up indoors – right now, I’m going to break my chains and write everywhere.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.