Writing: How to Write in Summer

So many things arise during the summer months: warm (or blazing hot!) weather, vacations, conferences, kids out of school. All these things can interfere with your writing routine.

Writing Tip for Today: Let’s discuss some strategies for writing in the summer season.

Be Flexible

When summer hits, many writers lose productivity. Whether it’s a writing conference, a vacay or kids out of school, writers can face disruptions to their writing schedules. And let’s face it, sometimes the pull of being outside can trample your good writing intentions.

I’ve been through many summers and remember the frustration of trying to attend to my four kids and keep writing. My best tip is to stay flexible—you can get word count at times you weren’t counting on. Carry a tablet or notebook to the park or the pool—you might at least be able to do character development or plot work as you watch over the kiddoes.

If possible, write in the off-hours—early or late—when you’re most likely to get enough solitary time to draft a scene, revise an essay or polish your query letter or synopsis. These tasks might be done without as much emphasis on raw creativity as your novel or nonfiction book.

Be Alert

If you decide to forego all writing until summer’s over, do revisions or write short articles or even poetry to keep the pump primed. By turning your attention to writing that can be finished sooner than book-length work, you can maximize your productivity.

You might enter legit contests or sell reprint rights to a piece you’ve published elsewhere. Be sure, however, that the contest is reputable. If the entry fee is very high or you’re promised things that sound too good to be true, skip it. Most writing resource guides list solid contests that might earn you some cred should you win.

If you’re attending a writing conference or retreat this summer, you can pivot to concentrate on queries, pitches and the types of materials that agents request. Whip your manuscript into the best shape possible before summer hits so that you can concentrate on the conference or your agent pitches. I don’t recommend having high expectations for these agent meets—they often don’t pan out. Yet it’s good experience, and you can learn a lot about how publishing works.

Balance for a writer means making time for fun and for writing too. 

Be Assertive

When my kids were young, I found it difficult to get writing done in summer. I felt guilty any time I was stealing away for a Butt In Chair session. I had to learn to be assertive with my family in a way that didn’t threaten them yet provided me a decent amount of writing time.

If your loved ones scoff and say your writing is “just” a hobby and therefore unimportant, stand your ground. For writers, word count is as vital as getting that mani/pedi or a girls’  (or guys’) night out. No need to be aggressive—hostile attitudes only bring a tug-of-war over priorities. Set out your writing time needs and be willing to compromise for different situations.

If you have no restrictions on your time, adhering to a regular writing schedule is even more important. Like school kids forgetting their arithmetic, not writing during summer months can throw you off your game and make writing harder when cooler weather returns. Balance for a writer means making time for fun and for writing too.

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.

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