After an amazing few days away writing songs with some fabulous people, it was time to head for home and try to get into some kind of routine for my SOS. (That's Summer Of Songs if you hadn't figured that out by now.) However, I've learned that for our family, routine and summer don't go well together. There are camps, sports, work, visits from relatives, fun days with friends, and a whole lot more that keeps us from a week-to-week routine. I love it, but by mid-August, I am ready for the schedule the school year brings us. But for now, we summer.
There will be a few work trips to Nashville, but most of my time will be spent here at home. I knew it would be helpful for me to have some guidelines to keep me on task during my SOS. Here are the basics:
1. Body and soul come first. Probably self-explanatory, but this simply means some form of physical exercise and some alone time with Jesus are critical. Both are an absolute necessity for my daily life, not only for a productive SOS. I'm pretty much an every-other-day exercise kind of girl, but this summer I'm shooting for something every day. Whether it's hitting the gym, walking the dog, or going for a long run, it must happen. Time with Jesus can look a lot of different ways for me: sitting on the deck reading the Bible, journaling, reading a devotional, or just having a good old-fashioned chat with God. If I haven't done both of these things before I sit down to write, I know I won't function as well. Doesn't mean I can't write, but I know these two things help me focus on the good stuff.
2. No social media before noon. Creativity is work. It takes both clearing my mind of crap and filling it with things that matter. Rarely does social media assist in either of those efforts. I think this might eventually lead to me distancing myself even further from some social media formats but time will tell. For now, I choose to not let that chatter become the loudest voice I hear as I prepare to make something beautiful.
3. One book / one documentary each week. I love to read. I love documentaries. Both inspire me. Both can be crowded out of my routine pretty quickly. So, I have set this goal and will continue to try and reach it.
4. Write every day. Okay, more like five days a week. I don't write on Sundays and there's usually one other day each week when something else has to take precedence. Like recovering from a writing trip, or chasing a kids somewhere, or having family time. So far my days have been filled with writing appointments (either in person or online) or I've chosen to write by myself. I used to do that all the time, but co-writing has become the norm for me these days. However, I have found it beneficial to have some days blocked out for just me.
There are a few other things I'm challenging myself on this summer, but those are the main ones. It's been important to show myself some grace in these areas because I don't want to become discouraged if I don't measure up somehow. The purpose of this SOS isn't to meet some kind of standard or keep a bunch of rules. It is to be the most productive I can be at doing something I love and feel called to. That means being disciplined, being intentional, and working my butt off. I'm all in and so far it feels really good. The songs already born this summer feel special. I can't wait to share them with you. Someday.