I’m getting excited for fall, and not just because my sprinkler system is broken and needs to be completely replaced. I’ve always liked fall – I was one of those kids who liked going back to school every year. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the end of the school year too. But there were lots of fun things about fall. I got to start a new grade, get new school supplies, new clothes, and new shoes, and every school year meant I learned new things. Plus the weather changed, I had trick-or-treat to look forward to, and the leaves turned colors and you got to jump in big piles of leaves.
I don’t jump in piles of leaves anymore – I’m on the other end of the rake now, making piles for the dogs to play in. I’m not going back to school – I have one week left in the online class I’ve been taking, then I’m done until I head to Oregon in February. But I still like the change in weather, and I still get excited about fall even though I have to pay for my own new clothes. I think what I really liked was the change, and there’s still plenty of that to make me still get excited when fall rolls around.
I’ve spent the summer trying out new approaches to writing. I’ve experimented with several different outlining approaches, and while I’m sure I’ll continue to fiddle with this I’m much happier with how I’m outlining now than I was back in May. I recognized an issue I tend to have when I write a story with multiple viewpoint characters – I seem to always have one character who’s critical to the story, but who doesn’t feel real enough. I figured out that these problematic characters tend to not have enough issues – and by ‘issue’ I don’t mean ‘problem’ because I have no trouble putting them in challenging situations. 🙂 What I finally realized was these characters tended to be pretty boring, and putting a boring character in a perilous situation doesn’t make them any less boring … so now I know what to work on when I find myself running into this. I’ve also learned some tricks to help me figure out where to take a story when I’m in the planning stage and am not clear on what I want to have happen, and that taught me a few tricks about how to come up with richer characters.
The one thing I did not do well at was time management. I had weeks where I felt super efficient and productive, but most weeks weren’t like that. Sure, I accomplished plenty of things, but I have a day job and two high-energy dogs, so to get as much done as I want means I need to be really on the ball. So … my goal for the fall is to make my own seasonal change by bumping up my productivity and start putting all the things I learned over the summer to use.