Your Writing Life

Summer looms, and with it, the real danger of your writing life getting shoved to the back burner. Gardens, poolsides and outdoor activities are hard to ignore when (and if) our very wet, soggy, drippy, miserably cold spring finally gives way to summer’s golden days. Even native Oregonians are griping about too much “liquid sunshine.” But we Oregon writers know too well how a little dabbling in the raised beds can turn into hours, days, weeks of neglecting the word count. How do you enjoy the season of fresh produce and SPF 50 without sacrificing your writing life?
No lazy writers!

Writing Tip for Today: Here are five ways to have fun this summer and still write at absolute top speed:

  • Plan a writing retreat. Reserve a beach house, mountain cabin or other getaway spot, and resolve to write, write, write. Some writers join forces (the Oregon Writer’s Colony has a house on Sylvia Beach with rooms to rent) while others head for a solitary spot with no phone or Internet.
  • Write first, party later. Set a reasonable goal–say 500 words or two pages per day. Keep a notebook and pen or laptop handy at all times. Arrange your schedule so you must fulfill your word count goal before you do any fun summer thing. Got kids? Bring your laptop or a notebook to swimming lessons, the park or write during nap time.
  • Enroll in a workshop or conference, or read a book on writing. Jumpstart your motivation with fresh ideas or practice what you learn in a workshop. If you live in the Eugene, Oregon area, I still have two open slots in my four week critique workshop that begins on June 17th.
  • Enter writing contests. Make sure the entry fee is reasonable and check to be sure the contest is legit. Polish and submit pieces to keep your writing skills sharp.
  • Use your outdoors time to concentrate on Concrete Sensory Detail (CSD). After you’ve walked, jogged, boated, or biked, jot down sensory information you’ve observed. Copy overheard dialog, smells, textures and of course, sights. Observe people in public places for use as character development.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

4 comments on “Your Writing Life

  1. Excellent ideas. Something that gets me thinking concretely is a trip to someplace I wouldn’t normally go. The smell of a nursing home or kennel, the feel of a yarn shop, the noise of a political rally at city hall, the quiet of a graveyard, the light on a mountain top at night, the taste of strange food. Take your senses someplace new and exciting.


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