When 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, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.