Keeping my nose to the writing grindstone is usually not difficult for me. Writing short stories, blogs, and book reviews, is, after all, my favorite thing to do, and I can, at least for a few hours each day, ignore the usual distractions—pet care, laundry, shopping for dinner, etc. But the month of May? It’s really tough.
First of all, there’s the garden. With shrubs bursting into bloom and the foliage of perennials pushing up taller and taller every day, my acre of garden in southwest Connecticut is an exciting place this time of year, and there’s much to attend to. Shrubs that didn’t survive the winter need to be dug out, perennials that have seeded themselves where they shouldn’t must be pulled or transplanted, bare spaces must be filled with new shrubs and perennials.
There are flowerpots to be planted with colorful annuals for summer pleasure. There are dead or drooping tree branches that must be removed. And, despite yards and yards of expensive mulch, there are irrepressible weeds that need to be yanked. So, there’s much to be done, and getting to my writing, usually my number one priority, is not easy.
And then there are the birds. May is the month of the amazing annual bird migration from southern climes to New England and Canada. And while I usually chain myself to my writing desk between nine and eleven in the morning, that’s the exact time the birds pause in our garden to forage for insects or gather nesting material. It’s a show too good to miss, and I’m always on the lookout for a passing warbler or oriole, as well. I need to be out in the yard with my binoculars at that time of day, studying these lovely creatures, not closed up in my dark study putting together sentences! And if I hadn’t made such an exception the other day, I wouldn’t have seen the huge White Egret at the edge of our pond or the tiny Orange-crowned Warbler feeding among the weeds or the brilliant American Redstart flitting through the trees.
And then there’s the weather. On a rainy or windy or brutally hot day, I’m OK. Those aren’t good gardening or bird watching conditions, and I can get a lot of good writing done then. But give me a gorgeous mild day in May when I can smell the lilacs and the fresh-mown grass and listen to the house wrens and song sparrows, and I simply must be outdoors.
So, that is why May’s my least productive month in terms of writing. That’s my excuse for not getting much done, and I’m sticking to it!