Ask the Coach: How Do I Keep Writing During Summer? – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month I’m addressing a question about how to keep writing during the summer:

“How do I keep writing even when I’m pulled away by summer? Between vacations, BBQ weather, busy kids, and an urge to get my house organized, I’m having trouble focusing on writing. What do you suggest?”

This is a timely question, with the summer solstice nearly upon us. A common challenge for many writers is being pulled in multiple directions — whether it’s family, a day job, multiple writing projects, self-care, or just wanting time off, while also wanting to keep pushing ahead with our writing goals and visions. And summer can be tricky. As a season, summer evokes a feeling of spaciousness and expansion, creating both the idea we’ll have “tons” of time to write while simultaneously feeling drawn to get out into nature, play, go to the pool, and do other summer-focused activities. And as you mentioned, it can feel like an expansive time to clean and purge your house, too!

Here are seven ideas to help you creatively keep writing and enjoy the summer. Use them with a mix-and-match approach, adopting those that work for you and ignoring the rest. [more…]


…don’t fall for the false dichotomy that you can only write OR enjoy the summer. You can do both.
Read the article on Script Mag: 
Ask the Coach: How Do I Keep Writing During Summer?

If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
Photo by Jane Palash on Unsplash 


Thinking ahead to summer writing

While technically it’s still spring until the solstice, I’m anticipating the changes summer will bring to my writing habits and my life.

My husband will be home more (he works at the University), and my son will have time off from school. We have our two annual camping trips already planned to savor the beauty of the outdoors. The outdoor light shimmering in my garden is calling to me.

It’s an expansive time.

And perhaps because of our cultural pattern of having summers “off” from our school years, I often find myself wanting to ease up on whatever I’m doing, work a little less, and play a little more.

At the same time, I think those of us who write also have this idea that we’ll get so much writing done because we have more time off (whether we literally do have more time or not). In fact, it’s a common pitfall for many writers and creatives. We set high expectations around “getting so much done” but simultaneously are pulled by a very real desire (and need) to take time off and play.

And of course we want do to both really — and that’s what I recommend, of course.

But all too often it ends up being neither one. Most people, when faced with “lots of time to write” end up doing nothing. And then they feel guilty and don’t enjoy their downtime either. Sad face.

What’s a thoughtful writer to do?

Here are three very simple steps to get you started thinking about how you want to see your summer writing play out:

Step 1. Check in with your writing goals for 2013 so far.

As summer approaches, it’s a great idea to think a bit about where you wanted to be right now. Are you on track with your goals? Ahead? Behind? Do they need recalibrating? Where are you right now and where do you want to be by the end of the year?

Step 2. Think about where you want to be in the fall.

At the same time, you’ll also want to think about where you want to be when fall rolls around and summer is over, so you can actually meet that end of year goal.

Are you hoping to be finished with your novel draft by the end of summer so you can move on to revisions? Have a new script polished up and ready to go? Be sending your self-help book off with query letters? Have your blog posting schedule humming like a well-oiled machine so you can start promoting something new?

Check in and see where you are now, and what you’ll want to do to meet that goal.

Step 3. Now, adjust for reality.

Keeping in mind that you may well feel pulled to play outside this summer, adjust your summer writing goals to realistically match the other things that will be going on in your life, like the kids being home, or going on the vacations you have planned, or the time off you desperately need.

Then, design in a reasonable, well-paced daily writing schedule you can actually accomplish. Put it early in the day, get it done, and then go out to play, guilt-free!

Your turn

What do you see as your challenges and opportunities when it comes to summer writing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

And if you want more on this subject, make sure you sign up for my free teleclass recording “Get Ready For Summer Writing.”

Join the Writer’s Circle

Join the Writer's CircleIf you’d like to experiment with writing in small increments of time, get a solid writing habit in place, and stay on track with your writing this summer, join the Writer’s Circle. The next session starts on Monday, and registration closes TOMORROW, Thursday, May 16th. And when you register for this session only, you can save $25 using the coupon code SUMMERWRITING at checkout. Go here to register and find out more: