My Summer Mini-Lent Plan

Summer Lent: a Season of Mental Renewal & Discipline

 CJ's Summer Mini Lent

“In many liturgical Christian denominations, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday form the Easter Triduum. Lent is a season of renewal, denial and discipline, that lasts 40 days, or 6 weeks, and necessarily ends with a great celebration of Easter. Thus, it is known in Eastern Orthodox circles as the season of “Bright Sadness.”

{source – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent}

 

Although I don’t subscribe to Lent as a rule, I do like the concept of taking a slow season (somewhere within the calendar year) to renew yourself, discipline yourself and work towards instilling good habits. I’ve had wonderful periods in the past where my writing was fluid and consistent, and I was on-target with all my goals, both professional and personal.

But invariably life throws that off-course and the discipline I carefully cultivated disappears. I was in a good shape again back in 2016, but that fall hit with a bang.

Work got crazy and sped up with events every single week, family started having “babies” by storm and it just felt non-stop. I don’t know why late-2016 to present was such insanity because, to be honest, I can’t remember much of it now. It passed in a blur and I was just praying to survive it all to the relative peace of our summer months.

I hit weekends with speeds of 100mph and face!planted the carpet until Monday. Then I found myself wondering why I couldn’t summon enough creativity to write. Doing dishes was pretty much taxing my brain to its limits. My creative wellsprings were used up all week long, wrung out of me and left me to dry Saturdays and Sundays like a limp, damp dishtowel. Then the week’s insanity would begin all over again, right on schedule, leaving me no time to smell roses or write anything lovely and restorative to my soul.

But, I think the worst was that I lost that lovely discipline I had last summer—before this crazy year began and stole all my resources from me. I was on such a roll last year until it got to mid-September(-ish), and I only remember bits and pieces of what all I did after that; scads at the day job, but precious-little in the creative exercises. “Lent” this year was not a time of Lent, because it was just too busy—like everything else.

I even “crashed and burned” in a manner of speaking over the past two weeks because May’s insane pace finally ended and it was vacation for my mind—my mind too overwrought and exhausted to be disciplined then. So I took an impromptu “vacation-hiatus” from writing or blogging both, and just let myself rest awhile, let my creativity build itself back up and flow freely after this year’s difficulties.

(That, and a good topic lately was a struggle. I had a horror story occur last week with my tires being slashed and try as I might, it’s still haunting me. I also was turned down for a residency I hoped for, and had a few bad experiences. Last week was a rough one—cursed almost, and not much one I felt like blogging about).

Now, I want to take my own mini-individualized “Lenten 6 weeks” as it were . . . to discipline myself again in the art of consistent and creative writing and play catchup from all the time lost since the beginning of the year.

 CJ's Summer Mini Lent Goals

  • To complete the full outline, broken down by chapter, of my next book project.
  • To pen two organic chapters per week, and submit to my beta reader by Sunday.
  • To meet my two-chapter goal, I must pen at least half-a-chapter, or roughly 3 pages per day.
  • To blog once-per-week (I think I need a lighter load over the summer but consistency is important), and concentrate on site content I haven’t finished yet.
  • To work on the cover art for my next book, when I need an artsy break.
  • To commit some of my time towards both my health goals and a writing group to help motivate me and keep me focused.
  • To put some “distractions” out of reach (one in particular has been stealing my attention since about March) and resolve that I won’t let myself get them back out until I’m back on target with my writing goals.

 

Do you have a method for disciplining yourself when you lose focus? Is there a season of renewal and recovery in your own life, similar to Lent?

I’m always interested to hear other stories or recommendations on what works for you. Please share in the comments.

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