Monday, September 6, 2010


I love summer. Summer means heat, sticky humidity, or dry desert heat. People go to festivals, fairs, outdoor concerts, beaches, and let’s not forget sunbathing and swimming. Ah—the fundamental activity that defines summer is to put on the suit and take in the sunshine, hear the kids splashing and screaming, and watch the partying adults drinking cocktails after beach volleyball.

This is all fine and dandy for those not committed to the multiple tasks of being a serious writer. Especially in sunny California. Yes, you have almost guaranteed sunshine during the months of summer. No day for rain. And definitely no thunderstorms. (What is a thunderstorm?) Although the morning may be overcast due to the Marine layer, the clouds will burn off by noon. (Please note that living on the coast of Northern California will bring you more overcast than the valleys.)

I get up and see that it’s cloudy. Great! Must go out and walk before the burning sun makes its appearance. Where I live, people prefer shade. In the central and southern part of California, the sun is hella strong. People wear big sun hats, ultra sport hats, or big visors to protect their skin. And the sun is bright, hot, and lends a Technicolor light to all it shines upon. As a young girl growing up in New York State the summer air was uncomfortable. The East Coast humidity can irritate anyone. There was summer sun, but it was a hazy sun that never gave a clear pure light. Eventually that hazy sun cooked the clouds and BOOM ! A thunderstorm is born. The benefits for artists, musicians, writers and the like, is that you will get overcast days or a day of rain from time to time. Ah--the perfect weather to stay indoors and do those creative, indoor projects.

Out here in Silicon Valley, there is no such weather break.

Working on my laptop near a window can be counterproductive. I see the perfect and pristine blue sky. The pointy cypress trees are vivid against those golden grassy hills. The air is perfect and comfortable. Never too hot; never ever humid. “Oh God, why am I not riding my bike? It’s so beautiful and perfect!”

It’s the climate everyone everywhere would kill for.

What they don’t realize is that this beautiful, vivid, Land of Oz-like weather hinders productivity. You don’t want to do research. You don’t feel like writing blogs. Adding friends to increase your marketing base becomes more annoying than usual. And focusing on your pretend world in your story becomes a challenge. So getting back to that sunshiny window, I brainstormed some tips to battle such an obstacle.

And I came up with one. DO NOT WORK NEAR A WINDOW. I don’t know about everyone else, but it depresses me. It’s telling me that life is passing me by.

Solution? Work in an interior room with NO windows. I picture the rooms in the basement of corporate buildings or hotels that provide air-conditioning and solace. Go to the library and work AWAY from the window. After a while, you’ll forget how beautiful and sunny it is out there; because—I’ll throw in a cliché--out-of-sight, out-of-mind really does work. You could find a coffeehouse that might have a back room, or a window-less upstairs. You need to go to a place where you can’t tell night from day. Some coffeehouses provide that artistic-creative atmosphere that’ll fuel the productivity function in your brain. And sometimes that lounge-style jazz music provides assistance. Just don’t drink too much coffee--it’ll turn you into a shaky wreck refusing to sit down.
The constant sun won’t last forever, but it’ll take until November before those gloomy, overcast, rainy days reappear. All I can say for now is to use that survival skill I suggested. You may feel depressed or guilty at first, but the more you spend time away from the happy sunshiny day, the better your production will be. Now close those blinds and get back to work.