The Write Life: How To Enjoy Summer and Still Be Productive

writing productivity, summer writingWhen you live in a place like Canada where summer can be, er, fleeting, you feel enormous pressure to get outside and DO STUFF. And heck, no matter where you live, summer is a time to be with family, enjoy s’mores around the campfire, go kayaking, and enjoy life’s bounty. After all, isn’t that the point, to live our lives?

But, we writers tend to have 3 modes of operation: writing, thinking about writing, and feeling guilty about NOT writing. As you can imagine, summer causes a bit of havoc on our psyche. Guess what? We can have our cake and eat it too! Just re-frame your expectations and redefine “writing-related” tasks.

Feeling unproductive? Worried your writing will be shelved for the summer? Give one of these ideas a spin:

1) Make a list of marketing and platform building tasks.

Small blocks of time are the perfect opportunity to get through some of the smaller jobs there’s never time for. So if you want to revamp your facebook page, investigate who your book’s audience is (and maybe start building relationships with influencers), or even build a business plan, make a list and tackle these piecemeal in the time gaps you do get.

2) Research an area of struggle.

Are you on shaky ground when it comes to dialogue, plotting, or *internal screaming* grammar? Why not take some time to read a book on the topic, google up some blog posts, or study your favorite authors? Work on this area and by summer’s end, you’ll be that much closer to mastering it. In fact, if you are looking for knowledge to absorb, I recommend starting with my pinterest boards which are broken down by writing topic.

3) Read a few books in your genre, and at least one outside of it.

It’s always good to stay current with one’s genre, and if finding time to work on a novel is too difficult, you can stay in the flow by studying what others are doing. And because reading in only one genre can cause is to have blinders on at times, try a foray into another genre, too. You’ll be amazed on what you pick up by reading in a genre you don’t typically write in.

4) Tackle some small or unfinished projects.

Do you have blog posts or a book review to write? Maybe a few magazine pieces which need editing? Or it could be there’s some critique group feedback to go through in the hopper. Whatever the case is, try to work through a few of these smaller tasks and you’ll feel good because you’re flexing your writing muscles AND knocking items off your to-do list.

5) Sign up for a class.

Chances are there will be writing events or workshops in your city over the summer, so why not search up local writing groups and associations (RWA, etc.) and see what’s happening in your area? And if not, look online, starting with Kristen Lamb’s WANA International and Margie Lawson’s Writing Academy. You can’t go wrong with either.

5) Build a Cast of Characters.

Sometimes we aren’t in the mood to tackle a new story, but we want to use summer to let ideas simmer. A great way to do this is by getting started on character building and getting to know the next set of characters you will be working with. There’s no better tool to do this with than the Character Builder at One Stop for Writers.

Give the free trial a try – it prompts you with brainstorming ideas as you go. With the Free Trial you can build one character and see just how powerful this tool is. If you upgrade to a subscription, you can build a Character Profile PDF like this one that can be exported right to Scrivener, too.

How do you make sure you’re productive during the summer? Let us know in the comments!









Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
This entry was posted in Business Plan, Contests, Focus, Reading, Revision and Editing, Time Management, Uncategorized, Writer's Attitude, Writing Time. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Write Life: How To Enjoy Summer and Still Be Productive

  1. Rishika says:

    I am Rishika from India, I have recently published my book on amazon. Well i sit down everyday to write, I am actually a full time writer, but now a days i cant seem to be concentrate on my writing, i have missed a lot, what do you think i can do for that?

    • What is keeping you from writing—life stress? Writer’s block? Something else? Pinpointing this can be very helpful.

      You might just need to take the pressure off yourself and do a few things: refill your creative well by reading books for enjoyment, getting out in nature, watching movies. Also, make Writing fun, not work. Try a fun prompt, take the first line of a book you love and use it as a springboard for a story, taking yours in a different direction. Or even try journaling to get your thoughts out on paper as to what you think is holding you back from writing.

  2. Pingback: Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 07-13-2017 | The Author Chronicles

  3. Nia Markos says:

    Living in Montreal, I can relate to trying to enjoy the summer months. I usually have to force myself away from spending time in front of my computer screen. I’m in the middle of trying to put my story line together for my new book and do feel guilt over not writing. I have decided to put it to rest for July and August. Focusing on catching up on my reading list has relieved some of the pressure. I’m spending time by the pool, when its not raining, which it seems to be doing a lot this summer, with my trusted Kobo reader. I can’t say that thoughts of plot lines do not intrude, but I am managing to keep them away, for now.

    • Reading is so important too (something I have to keep telling myself also!). i think that our brains are always working behind the scenes, and we solve problems when we aren’t hyper-focused. So at the end of the day, writing doesn’t always have to be “writing.”

  4. Beth Gallagher says:

    As chauffeur to a mid-teen and a new teen, my time is most definately not my own! I do find that while I can write anywhere, I seem to lack the razor focus I lust after. Way too much to do, household work to get done, beach to visit, parents to care for, etc etc etc. Must keep plodding along!

    • I know, right–there are always things needing to be done, and writing can be challenging. Maybe set mini-goals for yourself so you take advantage of writing when you can. When you see all those bits add up to something amazing, the joy of this becomes the incentive to do more or stay on task. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Writing Links 7/10/17 – Where Genres Collide

  6. Aleksandra Rybacka says:

    Hello Angela,
    I’m happy to inform you that this post is included in the recent part of TimeCamp’s weekly Productivity Articles roundup!
    Thank you for sharing these excellent writing productivity tips.
    Please find this recent episode here:
    Aleksandra Rybacka, SM Manager at TimeCamp

  7. Pingback: Productivity Articles: Find Best Tips This Week! 9/7/17

  8. Great post, Angela. This summer’s been busy recovering from a car accident early last month. Doctor visits taking up time. I try and just let myself go when it comes to writing and the flow comes, I manage five to six pages some days, sometimes only two but more of the first, thankfully. I know toward fall things will regroup again but I’ve discovered I can write through everything if I just take the time. Sometimes I do take my work with me to doctor visits. It keeps me occupied and moving forward.

    • Oh my gosh–I am so sorry Traci. I didn’t know about this. I am so glad you are okay, but it sounds like you definitely were injured. So sorry to hear that. I hope you heal quickly <3.

  9. Angela, this post makes me think two things: 1) you’ve been watching me (especially the guilt part); and 2) I need to send you a fee for this counseling session. Although I’m not doing some of the bigger tasks, you validated the smaller tasks I’ve been squeezing in as “something.” Thank you!

    • LOL, I am on point with the guilt thing because I think we all feel it. 🙂 It took me a long time to realize that research, thinking, planning, odds-and-sods that have to do with our writing career are ALSO worthy of being classified as “writing work.” Our jobs are multi-faceted, and learning and housekeeping type stuff is all part of the writing, just as the actual writing and editing is! 🙂 Glad this post helped. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.