It’s different in the summer. During the school year, I write in three very specific places: the research lab which is filled with computers, a mini fridge, and a microwave; my work, where I sit next to the students I tutor and put on headphones to keep them from interrupting me during my time off; or my stuffy, not weatherproofed room. When it’s hot, my room is hot. When it’s cold, my room is very cold. It’s nice enough in the fall and the spring, but come summer and winter, my room really sucks.
In the summer, though, I’m not at school, for the most part. This summer I’m not abroad either. I stayed in California to finish my research and present at Berkeley. I’m glad I stayed, but that means one very big thing for me: I didn’t get to escape from my hot, stuffy room. I had to find other places to go this summer to cool off and write.
I found myself on campus a lot when the summer started. I was required to research there four days a week and I had a campus parking pass. Cal Poly Pomona has a lot of nice, air conditioned spots for me to camp out with my laptop or a notebook and write. On a couple of the cooler days I even ventured outside and sat in the shade of a tree to do some of my writing.
This summer I was writing more than I usually did. Sure, I am often scribbling ideas for stories or poems on pieces of paper, on the notepad feature on my computer, or heck, even on my hand if nothing else is around, but I wasn’t really focusing on any of that this summer.
This summer I was doing academic writing and finishing what would be a forty-seven page research report on the integration of technology into a California Common Core performance classroom focusing on Shakespeare. It was a fairly specific project.
I was also writing blogs. I didn’t miss a beat on this blog—check it out. I posted at least twice a week, usually more. Even while I was up in Berkeley presenting my research I had blogs scheduled to pop up and keep my voice going here while I was away.
I didn’t write in Berkeley. I had decided that it was too much of a hassle to pack my laptop and bring it on the flight to and from. But that didn’t mean I stopped writing. I had notebooks with me as well as my Kindle, which kept me occupied outside of all the networking, preparing, and presenting I was doing and watching at the conference.
When I got back form Berkeley my writing habits changed. I was solely focused on editing and proofing my research report, which is much different from researching and writing. I had to put on the hat of an editor and scrutinize my own goods. Editing and proofing are part of the writing process, though—one of the most important parts, in my opinion. It’s great if you can write, but it’s better if you can make something you’ve written clear, concise, engaging, and plain old great. That’s what I was trying to do when I returned.