Charlotte Rains Dixon  

7 Ways to Keep Writing in Summer

Waiting-landscape-tourism-4870-lAh, summertime.

Blue skies, sunshine, lazy days and heat-induced lethargy. Barbecues, vacations and great, relaxing fun times.

But what about the writing?  When does the writing get done in all this fun?

Relaxation is great for the heart and soul, but it can be hell on the writing.  All the good times can leave little time for writing, and even if you have the time, you might not have the mental energy writing requires.

So what's a writer to do?

Here are a few suggestions, taken directly from my own life.  Because, you see, all of a sudden I'm back in love with writing my novel and I'm doing whatever I can to find time to work on it, which sometimes means coming up with some creative solutions.

1. Find nooks and crannies of time.  This is my best advice for busy times.  You can get a lot done in 15 minutes.  Even 5 minutes lets you reconnect with your work. Set a timer and go.  Work on your current project, write to a prompt, do a journal entry.  Writing breeds more writing and the more you write the more you'll write.  Do you really need to catch up on the news about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise? Does that email have to be done right now? Write instead.

2. Write outside.  Working inside on beautiful days can feel confining.  So take your writing outside.  I love sitting with my laptop on my deck, writing.  I spent Saturday afternoon out there reading manuscripts.  When my kids were little, I'd take them and my journal to the park.  I'd sit at a park bench and write while they played.  Never failed to re-inspire me.

3.  Get up early.  It's still lovely and cool in the early morning hours.  The birds sing and you can watch the sun rise (or at least see the sky lighten–my office faces west).  Nobody else is awake yet to bother you and you can get a lot of writing done.

4. Write on vacation.  Yes, really.  Travel inspires my writing and so does, in some strange way, movement.  I love writing on planes and in cars.  If you are bothered by motion sickness, try Sea Bands, which you can get at your local pharmacy.  They are cloth bracelets with a plastic tip embedded that stimulates a pressure point on your wrist and they work like magic.

5. Set your intention.  Never underestimate the power of thought!  Set the intention that you're going to make time to write and repeat this intention to yourself often.  Makes it much easier to follow through.

6.  Get fired up.  As I mentioned above, I'm now in love with the novel I'm writing.  It took a bit of slogging to get to this point, I'll admit, but now that I'm here I'll do anything to make time to write.  So get yourself fired up–and honestly? The best way to do this is to work regularly until you find your groove.

7.  Release the worry.  Think of all the energy you spend worrying about not writing.  I know I do.  Let it go and release that energy for your writing.  Often when you give up the obsessing it clears the mental space you need to focus again.

These are my best tips for getting the writing done during these glorious days of summer.  What are yours?

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Photo by mterraza.

0 thoughts on “7 Ways to Keep Writing in Summer

  1. Beverly

    #fakecamp is helping me!

    Early morning writing has been really productive for me, too. Breaking into shorter sessions so I can play a little between writing sprints helps me.

  2. Charlotte Dixon

    I've become a huge fan of short writing spurts.   I'm continually amazed at how much I can get done in small amounts of time.  And I know that often when I have a long stretch of time, I think I have so much of it that I tend to waste.  Yay for #fakecamp!

  3. December

    This is the exact post I needed to read today, thank you!

  4. Melissa Marsh

    I wrote a blog post on this the other day – I loathe summer. I think I have the opposite of seasonal affective disorder because I thrive in the autumn/winter months and become one big ball of depression during the summer. Still, I’m crawling along in the writing projects. I spent nearly all day at the desk on Saturday but it certainly helped that the triple digit temperatures broke over the weekend to the high 80s. Felt so much better!

  5. Charlotte Dixon

    I love when that happens, thanks for letting me know.

  6. Charlotte Dixon

    Well, I don't hate summer, but I always love it when fall comes.  And I enjoy telling people how much I love when it gets dark early starting in November.  Of course, I love the nights when there's still light in the sky at 10 PM, too (we're far enough north that it stays light pretty late).  I'd love living in Scandinavia–blame it on the fact that I'm half Danish.  Glad you're getting some writing done, even if it is a crawl.

  7. David Paine

    As a life-long early riser with a bit of ADD, I totally support the concept of writing in the morning and doing it in short bursts. It’s the only way I ever get anything done.

  8. Charlotte Dixon

    David, I rise early naturally, too.  But the trick is to get myself to write first thing instead of going to the internet.  I think too many people believe that they must have long stretches of time to get any writing done, which is just not true.

  9. Karen Phillips

    I love hot summer days (not the 109 degrees we had last week, but you know, Middle TN hot, high 80’s and 90’s). Getting up early has been a must lately just to beat the heat for a walk. Afternoons and evenings have become my new writing time. I don’t know how many times last week in my journal I thanked God for AC.

  10. Charlotte Dixon

    80 degrees is the perfect temperature for me, and luckily, that's how most of our summer has been so far.  We've not had to deal with the awful temperatures the rest of the country has had, but if we did, I'd be in a heap of hurt because we don't have AC.  Glad you're still getting your writing in, despite all!

  11. Zan Marie

    How about “all of the above”? ; ) Seriously, working in bits and pieces is a great idea. I love writing on my deck in the early, relatively cool mornings. In the afternoon, I retreat to the air-conditioning, but it’s been high 90s or into the 100’s for weeks around here!

  12. Charlotte Dixon

    Ooh, that sounds wonderful, Zan Marie–working on the deck in the cool early morning.  If my neighbor weren't having her house remodeled with lots of noise and activity starting early, I'd try the same thing.

  13. Heather Jenkins

    Do you just have an endless supply of amazing posts in that head of yours??

    I LOVE the idea of releasing the worry. Breathe in. Breathe out. I will give myself permission to relax in the moment and not try so hard!

    Thanks so much!!

  14. David Paine

    How I love the net! And what a temptation and a time suck!

  15. Jenni Gainsborough

    I so agree about releasing the worry. Once I remind myself that my writing is for fun and to bring me pleasure, I feel free to do it in short bursts and wherever is convenient just to suit myself. It stops being an obligation and becomes a relaxation.

  16. Charlotte Dixon

    Oh, thank you so much, Heather!  And yes, release the worry–it's not doing you any good anyway, might as well let go of it!

  17. Charlotte Dixon

    Me, too.  I have to pull myself up and remind myself what I'm doing when I'm surfing, which mostly is wasting time.

  18. Charlotte Dixon

    Well said, Jenni, well said.

  19. Fear of Writing

    Except for my recent vacation, there’s not much different for me about summer here in Ohio. We’ve never really put down roots here in Youngstown (only moved here for a job, which is now over), don’t have much social life, there’s not a lot of adventure to be had here and we just carry on with our regular work routine, which for me includes a bunch of writing.

    But . . . we’re hoping to move back to New Mexico before the end of the year. If we do that, I’ll definitely need your tips! There’s so much to do there, family and friends to hang out with, adventures to be had. I know I’ll be “living” more and writing less. So I’ll need to consciously carve out the time and energy for my precious writing. Hopefully, my cherished morning journaling time will remain intact.

  20. Charlotte Dixon

    Oh, Milli, I'm so excited for your potential move to New Mexico!  I love that state so much and I know your family is there, including that adorable grandson.  Then you'll be juggling time for writing, but it will be so worth it!

  21. Karen Phillips

    You don’t have AC! LOL, sorry, I’ve lived in the South so long I can’t imagine living somewhere that doesn’t need AC.

  22. Charlotte Dixon

    We rarely have temperatures that warrant it.  Maybe a week of plus 90 in July, but the last few summers its been mostly high 80s to mid 90s.  And don't kill me, but no humidity.  I spend most of the summer outside. 

  23. Patty

    Yes, me too on release the worry. Also, ditto what Heather said about the endless supply of posts. You are pretty amazing, Charlotte. And since I’m now back to writing after being on blogging hiatus, I’m noticing a lot of joy in the return. I think that might be because I’ve had a year of doing tons of creative work in my women’s creative wisdom circle. It feels like that’s feeding the writing. So maybe mixing it up with other creative adventures is good too.

  24. Charlotte Dixon

    Oh Patty, thank you!  I've always admired the depth of the writing that you do, so its high praise.  And I love your suggestion that other creative arts nurture the writing–so true, so true.  So many people think you have to focus on just one thing and that doing anything else will detract.  But creativity breeds creativity and writing breeds writing.

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