Bee-ing the Writer

Do you have trouble concentrating on writing in the summer like I do? There’s a lot going on, no question. For me, summertime means spending a lot of time in the garden. Growing fruits and vegetables and flowers.

And along with all that growing goes pollination: bees, beetles, all kinds of other insects, birds and sometimes even mammals.

Bee on Oregano flower
This week I started watching the pollinators—especially the bees—and it occurred to me I could learn a thing or two from them about beeing buzzzy (sorry can’t resist). They are industrious all day long, buzzing from flower to flower, feeding on nectar and collecting pollen.
As a writer, I wish I spent as much energy on my writing as those bees do on pollination. Buzzing around my WIP as though it were a garden, honing in on each individual idea like a new flower—and collecting as much from one before moving on to the next. Then cross-pollinating my ideas with new thoughts picked up at my last stop. Working all the time, industrious and focused.

Wasp on Dill flower
Next time I’m having trouble concentrating, I think I’ll try to “bee the bee.”

Do you have trouble concentrating on writing in the summertime, like I do? What are your distractions? And what can you learn from them that you can apply to your writing process?



  1. For me it’s that damn day job that keeps getting in the way!

    Then again, there is the pool beckoning, and get-togethers with friends. Tomorrow a (company) beach party, Sunday another friend is coming over, and though I know I will enjoy the time spent with them, another part of me is tressing – but when are you going to write, hmmm?

    Somehow I need to figure out how to balance my life a little better and not put that pressure on myself. It’s okay, it’s even GOOD to spend a day at the beach once in a while. Even if it means I won’t be writing.

  2. Another fun post – and proof that we’re on the same page. I’ve had a “pollinator post” on my blog idea list since February, but just didn’t get around to posting it. Maybe next spring! Though yesterday, I stopped during my jog to just listen. The entire desert was abuzz. Kind of spooky feeling – just me and all those insects – but also magnificent because I am in such an isolated area that I can HEAR that, with NO other background noise.

    Get to work, busy bee. I’m doing the same.

  3. Ooh yeah, biiiig distractions for me in the summer. Numero uno is the kids. Home. All. Day. Sometimes I love it, other times I crave solitude. But always keeping in mind that they are only young once…

    Cool perspective with the busy bees. I love how we can glean so much from nature. Though observing my biggest fear (okay, not so much bumble bees as wasps) doesn’t sound like something I’d enjoy. I tend to get the heck out of their way and go screaming like a sissy-girl back into my house whenever they’re nearby. Wish I wasn’t that afraid, but honestly, I can’t seem to force myself into mind-over-matter when it comes to fuzzy black and yellow insects with stingers. 😛

  4. Hope Clark says:

    Gardening, pruning, weeding, soaking up sun, boating – all get in the way. I see the sunshine and have to get outside. Part of the reason I write at night?

    Hope Clark

  5. CMSmith says:

    Cute post, Julia. The distractions I have can also be a blessing. My main distraction is travel. We travel a lot and have several trips coming up. I find it very difficult to live up to my post-a-day challenge when I’m traveling. But on the other hand, travel gives me a lot of fodder for my posts.

    Because of that, the sting doesn’t hurt too bad.

  6. Cynthia Robertson says:

    Yes, Julia, summer is the most difficult time to write for me too. The heat is distracting, and the early and late light. Winter is my creative cocoon.

  7. Beverly, I don’t have a day job, but I can see how that would get in the way… but then again, I don’t have a pool or the associated get-togethers so as you say it’s a balance …and there’s always something! Definitely a recurring theme, and bee-ing a writer can be a challenge!

    Melissa, Glad you enjoyed it and will look forward to yours! It will be so interesting seeing the different plants and pollinators from the desert! I know exactly what you mean about the air being abuzz. You’re SO lucky there’s so little background noise; it’s a rare time in the quietest time (usually the week before school starts and everyone’s on vacation) that we get that treat. Bee seeing you 😀

    Barb, You’re lucky to have young kids to distract you; of course I’m envious, but I also remember the immediate feeling of craving solitude. Just the way we introverts roll! Oh my goodness, yesterday when I was taking photos of bees, one flew right toward the camera then almost into my face…. TERRIFYING 😀

    Hope, Sounds like you have my kind of summer… (minus the boating, I’m not a big boat fan). But honestly, I wish I *could* write at night, but I get sooo sleepy! Your garden must be lovely!

    Christine, Glad you enjoyed it! Travel is a wonderful distraction!! You do a lot of gardening too, I know. Where are you traveling to next? (p.s. funny joke… sting doesn’t hurt too bad! hahaha!)

  8. Cynthia, I LOVE that: creative cocoon! Exactly! Me, too! I’m not a fan of the heat so if I lived in AZ, I’d be in BIGGGG trouble!

  9. Ann says:

    Hi Julia!

    Great photos! Since it’s hot here a good portion of the year, it’s not too distracting. If I’m distracted at all it’s mostly with things related to the blog…cookbooks, actual cooking, Food Network…that sort of thing.

    Most of the time, when I sit down to blog, hubby makes sure there are as few distractions as possible….he’s a keeper!

  10. Ann, What a nice compliment on my photos; huge from you bec. you know how much I love yours! Sounds like your husband is like mine — supportive of the blog. Definitely keepers!

  11. Julia,

    I do have a lot of trouble concentrating in the summer…the weather calls me outside and kids are home. Still, I try to sit down and jot something down each day so I don’t get out of practice!

  12. Loved the pix! Especially Wasp on Dill flower – an unusual sight.

    Almost my only distractions this summer are the ones I create for myself at my own desk. I don’t have much social life here in this (temporary) city and my daughter and grandson live far away. We have a yard but it’s not relaxing to go out there. Boardman homes have no fences so whenever I’ve tried to spend time in the backyard I hate the feeling of the nosy neighbors watching me from their kitchen window (which they do, and they don’t mind admitting it).

    We do have some gardening we *should* be doing (we live in a rental) but it’s all about pulling weeds so I’m not at all motivated to go out in the record heat and work on that.

    In summary, I really have no excuses I can fall back on for not getting some writing done ;~)

  13. I love this post! Back when I’d just started freelance writing full time, I had to visit a bee farm to write about the different varieties of honey produced in South Florida. I’ve had a special appreciation for bees ever since.

    Did you know that to produce one pound of honey, a bee would have to fly 25,000 miles? Luckily, hives often have several thousand bees, so they split the work.

    But it reminds me of the writing process–to produce an 80,000 word book, the writer will often write much more than that. If I take into account all my drafts, I probably wrote well over 250K before arriving at the 90k that worked!

  14. Annie, Thank goodness I’m not the only one distracted with the great outdoors — still, I wish I were more like you in jotting things down each day…. I’m a little less consistent, unfortunately! How do you get yourself to do it!?

    Milli, I agree that the wasp on the dill flower is unusual. It looks so heavy to be on the delicate stems of the plant, don’t you think? I really hate the feeling of being watched that you wrote about — we live on a corner right in town, and although it’s not heavily traveled, we have next to no privacy when outside! In any event, I think you’re probably at least 45 times more productive than I am in the summer time 😀

    Natalia, I’m so happy to find another member of the bee appreciation club! They are SO important. And about the different varieties of honey….that’s actually why I chose to include pictures of different flowers — to show the diveristy of bee interests. (LOL, it’s really true). That is truly amazing about how far bees need to fly — and it’s so much like the writing process and even the process of gathering information and making it into the “writing” honey!

  15. Erika Marks says:

    Do I EVER! Since my husband is a teacher and we are so fortunate to be on an academic calender–and I just can’t get enough of the man!–it is so hard to stay on a schedule when he and I and our kiddos just want to be together and out and about in these precious weeks. (See: Maine visit:))

    But the end of of the season is fast approaching and we’ll be back on our schedules…as will those wonderful bees?!

  16. Erika, Summers together sounds absolutely wonderful! I love the times we’ve all been together at home — they are indeed precious times! I’m with you, all too soon we’ll be back on our regular schedules, so I’m with you, enjoy the bzzzy summer while you can!

  17. Liz says:

    Having lived in northern New England, I can totally see why the summer would be hard to focus. 🙂 You guys are frozen over for at least 6 months, so when it’s sunny and warm you need to make the most of it!

  18. Liz, That’s so true about the frozen six months when I won’t have anything to do but be inside…. to write (and clean house, woohoo), oh, and to get cabin fever. Don’t you miss the frozen Northeast? 🙂

  19. Lisa Ahn says:

    Oh, I love bees. To follow up on what Natalia said, the honey-making process is a strange one. Forager bees store nectar in their honey stomachs. Back in the hive, they spit it out and a house bee swallows it up. Chemicals in the house bee’s stomach turn the nectar to honey. They spit it into the comb cell, fan the cell with their wings to thicken the honey and then cap the cell with wax. The lovely sweetness that we call honey is actually twice-digested transformed nectar from bee stomachs. Add to that the fact that bees need to collect nectar from millions of flowers to make a single pint of honey and you have a great metaphor for the writer’s life. (yes, I’m a total bee-geek)

  20. Lisa, So happy you enjoyed this post, and I’m glad to find another bee lover! I love thinking of the million flowers metaphor — nice way of looking at it! Bee geeks unite 😀

  21. Leah says:

    I love your new header! Very summerish and fun! I think I agree with you that it seems tougher for me to write this summer. Maybe because I’ve tried to commit to being outside more and doing more with Sophie. Not sure. Or I’ve been busier at work so more tired in the evenings. Either way, I do miss having as much energy and drive to write. I guess it’s a good thing fall is almost upon us.

  22. Lovely pictures as usual! You, Melissa, and Cynthia make me jealous! Anyway, I think I write MORE in the summer because in general I’m in a better mood, there’s more daylight, etc.

  23. Leah, I’m glad you like my new header! We had a lot of fun making it. Being outside with Sophie sounds like a wonderful way to spend summer — I remember with great fondness those days of summer fun and exploration with young kids. It sounds like you have a lot going on, so I’m not surprised that writing is harder to commit to!

    Nina, I’m so glad you enjoyed the pictures… thank you! You’re so lucky that the daylight gives you more energy/better mood to write. Believe it or not, I’m kind of energized by gray skies, crazy, huh? 😀