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 


Intriguing side effects of getting up at o’ dark hundred

A few weeks ago, I wrote about getting up at 6 a.m. to write. I’ve continued with the experiment and I’ve been enjoying the results very much.

I’ve been surprised to notice a number of interesting side effects:

I feel better rested.

I’ve been going to sleep no later than 10 p.m. if I can possibly help it, and usually more like 9 or 9:30 p.m. I’ve read that you get the most regenerative sleep between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., and I’m finding that it is true.

I’m using my time much more wisely.

Something I’ve struggled with over the past year in particular is how I use my time in the evenings.

I was watching shows on streaming video… and then watching just “one more” until the evening was gone and it was far too late. Or obsessively playing iPhone games or looking at things online.

I felt like an out of control addict who was doing unhealthy things in the name of having “alone time.”

Instead, now I reward myself with little nibbles of these formerly addictive devices when I complete a task, and it doesn’t stop me from being efficient and effective. If anything I feel more effective because I’m enjoying these little breaks as true play.

I feel calm.

In part this is due to Just. Doing. The. Writing., but I believe it also has to do with doing it so EARLY.

Getting up at 6 not only demonstrates my commitment to myself and to my writing, but also helps me get it done. Instead of having it hanging over my head for an entire day (“When am I going to fit it in?”), which makes me feel incredibly guilty, I feel at peace when I do it first.

It’s like I’m saying, “I’ve done my hardest work. Now, what else is there?”

I feel happy.

A big part of feeling happy is the result of actively working to fulfill my calling as a writer.

But there’s also a kind of freedom and joy that comes from doing it first that is highly compelling.

Contrary to how it might appear from the outside, writing triggers a huge amount of fear for me, so facing it first (while still half asleep, I might add), creates such a huge sense of relief that happiness seems to rush in and fill the void.

How cool is that?

Your Turn

What does this inspire for you? Let us know on the blog.



Coming Attractions

~> Ongoing. My Protection & Grounding Jewelry is on close-out. Only a few items are left. Find them here.

~> January 23rd, 2012. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts. Sign up here. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session.

~> February 2, 2012. Start the new year fresh with your life purpose clear in your mind. My next life purpose breakthrough group session in on February 2. Details. Registration deadline: January 5.


What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU.

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Enjoying time off with my family.

Why I’ve been getting up at 6 a.m. lately

I’ve been getting up at 6 a.m. lately, for the last two or three weeks, to do something remarkable.

But before you think I’m just an “early bird” let me tell you that up until recently: 1) my ideal sleep scenario involved NO alarm clocks and waking up naturally, usually between 8:30 and 9, and, 2) after a fairly recent and excruciating bout of sleep deprivation à la new baby turned into toddler, …

… if you had had the audacity to suggest that I would get up at 6 a.m. for ANYTHING I would have reacted with revulsion.


That said, here I am, pretty much daily — even on weekends! — getting up at 6 a.m. to WRITE.

And I LOVE it.

Love it!

How insane is that?

The Fear of Writing Has Turned Into a Fear of Not Writing

Today Isabel asked me to think back to what it was like before I was writing regularly, about what that was like. I almost cried. And a wave of fear went through my stomach.

See, the thing is, I’ve crossed a line.

It’s the invisible line between terror in the face of writing and terror at the thought of not writing.

How did that happen?

I mean, of course I know the answer (decision, commitment, regular and consistent action, accountability, passion, etc.) but How. Did. That. Happen?

It’s truly amazing.

Does It Really Matter?

But why, you may be asking, why, Jenna, does it really matter if you get up at 6 a.m. to write? Why not write at 9? Or 3 p.m.?

It does matter. At least to me.

  • It matters because when I start writing before I’ve entirely woken up, my inner critic is a LOT quieter. In fact, I hardly hear from him at all. And that makes my life SO much easier.
  • It matters because when I get up early to do my soul’s true work first, I feel a deep answer to the Powers That Be saying, “Here I am. I am doing my part.”
  • It matters because when I put my Big Dream FIRST in my day, I feel calm for the rest of the day. And that calm is highly addictive.
  • It matters because I’m showing myself, deep down, that I’ve reorganized my life around my passion for writing and I really, really mean it.

I don’t know if I’ll keep doing this — I think I will — but so far, it rocks as successful experiments go. I was inspired to try this by hearing about so many writers that get up so early to write. I figured they must know something I don’t.

Holy smokes, they were right!

Enough About Me

What about you? How are you making your Big Dream a priority in your life? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.



Join us for the ongoing journey

Join the Writer's CircleThe next session of the Writer’s Circle starts soon. The Circle is a bit like a giant sandbox where you get to experiment with your writing habit, see what works, see what doesn’t, and end your isolation as a writer by writing alongside other writers committed to showing up and doing the work. Find out more and register here: