We’re a month away from the official kickoff to summer, and as someone who gets less of this season than many (Oh, Canada), I’m starting to get giddy. Summer is ahead, ready to unfurl like a warm, sunny rug. I’m talking longer days, less rigid schedules, and more trips to Gong Cha for bubble tea. Let the good times roll.
Some writers may be looking to take the next few months off from writing, or shift focus to other writerly tasks. Others have no such plans, and will be full steam ahead as usual.
I want to make room to enjoy summer, but I’ll still be working, balancing writing and research with the other things on my plate, and frankly, I’m good with that. I’m the type of person who needs to know I’m furthering the ball when it comes to my goals, even if it’s at a slower pace.
Writing over the summer is glorious because…
We can move our office wherever we want. I love being able to take my laptop outside and work on the sun-dappled balcony in the morning, or pull a deck chair into the shade during the afternoon. Sometimes I decide it’s a take-your-adult-beverage-to-work-day, because why not? Summer!
We can tap into greater creativity. Writing outside, or even with just the windows open, brings us birdsong, the shush of leaves, and perfumed air of flowers and greenery. Color is everywhere, too, visual reminders that everything is growing, coming into its own, just as we are with each word we write.
We can take our stories on the road. Is there anything better than taking a notebook on a walk, finding a quiet park or place along the river, and just letting our imagination flow? Getting out from the desk is a powerful way to reconnect with creativity and spontaneity (and it keeps us from losing hours to scrolling tiktok videos).
We have more energy. Summer tends to mean less activities and a slower pace as schools close and people at work rotate through holidays and vacations. With less pressure in these areas, we have more time for ourselves, and more mental energy for our books.
A break from writing can be beneficial because…
Life can be stressful, and sometimes we just need a break. Between work, family, social commitments, and unexpected life hurdles, sometimes the last thing we need is to fill a gap of time with more of anything. It’s okay to take time for yourself, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about not writing, especially if you are a bit burned out.
You just wrapped up something big, and need rest. Last year, my life was nuts. In a span of three months, both my children were married, I moved, and my husband was admitted for major surgery. With so many big life events happening all at once, I needed some downtime in the worst way, so I took it without regret.
You’re struggling with Writer’s Block. When retrieving words seems impossible, sometimes you need to keep trying, but other times, stepping back is the better choice. The dreaded block often happens because the creative well is empty, meaning it needs to be refilled. Read, get out in nature, watch movies, do art, bake, and do all the things that tend to make you feel creative and feed your imagination. When you are itching to get back to writing, you’ll know.
Or…strike a balance!
Few things are all-or-nothing, including your summer writing (or not-writing) strategy. If you have visitors to prep for, weekend camping trips, or this is the year you renovate the yard, it might be difficult to work on your novel with regularity. But if you’re like me and get a bit squidgy when you feel as if you aren’t furthering your writing goals, look for middle ground. One way might be to choose bite-sized tasks over a steady word count.
Think about where you are now, and where you want to be. Make a list of things that you need to know to have a clearer picture of your path forward. Do you need to research publishing options? Get a query letter & list of agents ready to go? Do you need to find a course to help you market, or create a shortlist of reputable freelance editors? Whatever things you believe should be in your headlights, make a list. Order it so what you need to get started on first is at the top.
Do some research. Being a writer means there’s always more for us to learn. Maybe it’s time to research website hosting, play with design tools so you’ll be able to create promotional materials down the road, or find answers to your publishing questions. Summer is a great time to visit new sites, test tools, and find resources that can help you take the next step.
Plan a new story. Summer is the BEST time to dream up new characters, outline a story, or build a fictional world. These are writing bits that are fun, creative, and perfect for smaller pockets of time. Being able to mull everything over, and do some of the important planning, can put you in a great place when it’s time to start writing!
You even have the time and space to decide the best way for your story to start. Having that first scene clear in your mind can make it so much easier to get going when it’s time to write it.
If you are planning to write…
You might want to check out One Stop for Writers. Becca and I have spent years building a powerful toolkit full of resources, the largest show-don’t-tell THESAURUS database anywhere, and a Storyteller’s Roadmap, which guides you step-by-step as you plan, write, and revise.
This can be especially helpful over the summer so you keep track of what comes next at whatever stage you’re in. Find out more.
What are your plans this summer – write, take a break, or something in between?
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.