It’s here! It’s finally here! Those of us on the East Coast have been waiting…and waiting…and waiting for summer to arrive and it finally has! But, as much as we have been wishing and hoping for this moment, the sunshine and warmer temps have a way of luring one from the writing chair and into a beach chair instead. No judgements. I’m right there with you. And if the beach isn’t calling your name, surely the kids home on summer vacation are. Any uninterrupted writing time you are used to having is no longer. RIP precious writing time.
Don’t fret! Even if you don’t have as much BIC time or that laser focus, there are still many valuable ways to be productive during these summer months. Here are a few for you to consider while you sip that fruity drink with the paper umbrella as your feet dip in the pool.
1. Read: As writers we know that a great way to improve our craft is to read the genre in which we write. So, if you’re heading to the beach, take a book! That’s what I call a win/win. If you’re hanging at home with the kids, set aside an hour for all of you to dedicate to reading.
2. Fill Your Bucket: At this year’s NESCBWI conference, the incredible Jane Yolen shared a special nugget of advice. It’s not just the “butt in chair” time that equals success. We need gathering days to fill up our bucket of ideas. That way, when we do sit down to write, we have an overabundance of story starters to choose from and work with.
Summer is a perfect time to fill your bucket. Going on a trip? To the park? To a museum? Take a notebook and pay attention to things you may not have noticed before.
3. Outline/Brainstorm: For those of us who are natural plotters this one may come a bit easier, but for pantsers, your brain may fight you a bit. When you don’t have the time or drive you normally do to write drafts and revise, try outlining a new story idea or having a short brainstorming session to keep your mind fresh. Then you’ll have something to work with when you get back to your normal writing schedule.
4. 5am Writer’s Club: If you are on Twitter you may have seen the hashtag #5amwritersclub. No membership form to fill out or approval needed to join this group of incredibly motivated writers who, you guessed it, wake up and start writing at 5am. Who does that, you ask? Serious writers, with goals and drive and no other time to write, that’s who. I’m not trying to guilt you into doing this. I think I’ve joined them a handful of times. But with summer here, I may be setting that alarm more often than not.
5. Writing Prompts: If your kids like to write then consider blocking out some time to complete some silly writing prompts together and sharing what you’ve come up with. It’s a great activity for them to help avoid that summer slip and it may just spark some ideas for you.
With all that said, keep this in mind: It’s ok to take a break. In fact, it’s important to step away, live life, and be present. The work will be there when you get back and you will feel rested and ready to give your best self to your writing.
Do you have any tips/tricks that you do to get in your writing time during the summer? I’d love to hear your ideas!