Commencement: The Self-Challenge of Summer

Summer is an important season. Mid June marks the end of the school year, bringing about the glorified “summer vacation” that dominates the hopes and dreams of all children from kindergarten through 12th grade. It is the season of better weather, adventure, free time and no academic obligations. It’s the time to visit the beach, go camping, do road trips, and clean those rooms in the house that you never get around to. Summer is the time to do the things you wanted to do, but didn’t have time for. For me, summer is the time to write.

As I have mentioned before, I work in a middle school as a 1 on 1 aid for a child with severe motor disabilities. In essence, I “go to school” as my job, and therefore I look forward to all the holiday vacations that make up for the less-than-ideal pay. Student conference days. “Data days.” Thanksgiving break. Christmas break. President’s day. Spring Break. And of course, summer vacation. While my job doesn’t require me to do work outside of the classroom, it is physically and mentally demanding. It can be hard to motivate myself to work on my vocation (writing) when I get home, and sometimes I will neglect to write for weeks on end. During summer, the “I’m tired from working all day” excuse is no longer valid, leaving me with nothing to stand in the way of my writing but my own laziness.

This summer I am determined to beat out my summer-slothfulness and make some actual progress on my current manuscript. So I have given this challenge to myself: finish the story by August 31, or I shall punish myself by not bringing a book to work in the fall until it’s done. This is a tough challenge. My manuscript is about halfway done (give or take) after a year of working on it with breaks for editing my previous work. Two and a half months to finish is really pushing it. But IT HAS TO GET DONE. I have a plethora of other story ideas I really want to work on, but I cannot allow myself to abandon this current work until it is finished. Thus, the threat to myself. I am a biblioholic; my reading addiction is on the level of some people’s nicotine addiction. Lack of reading can alter my mood and cause me to me irritable and jumpy (my family and co-workers will attest to this).

That is my summer self-challenge. Let it commence!

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