5 Ways to Keep Writing This Summer
June 14, 2019
Summer is here! And with it, all the glorious warm weather and long days featuring drinks by the pool, barbecues, days at the beach, camping trips, vacations, and kids out of school — but your writing? At the bottom of the heap, if you’re not careful.
Even if you’ve been looking forward to summer with the notion that you’ll have more time to write (much the way we tend to think January will magically create more writing time), reality doesn’t usually match up unless you apply some thoughtful intention to your summer plans.
Here are five ways to stay motivated to keep writing this summer, so you can stay on track with your 2019 screenwriting goals.
- Set a summer writing goal
This is crucial to give yourself something to orient around and motivate yourself with. Think about what you’d most like to accomplish this summer, as well as how it fits into your overall script goals for the year, then write it out in goal form. E.g., Finish my screenplay rewrite by July 31st.
Once you’ve set your goal, double-check your ability to achieve it by counting up how many actual writing days — and therefore how much writing time — you have to devote to writing once you account for work, family, and/or travel commitments. You may discover you need to set a tighter writing schedule, extend your deadline, or revise your goal.
- Hold yourself accountable
I’m a bit of a broken record about accountability, but it’s one of the single most effective tools a writer can use if they’re struggling to stay self-motivated.
Once you have a goal and writing plan in place, create some form of accountability for yourself. Join a summer writer’s group (we’re running one right now at Called to Write), find an accountability partner, work with a coach or mentor, commit to a contest deadline, or announce your intentions on social media. Tweet them to me at @JennaAvery and I’ll be there to cheer you on!
Whichever way you choose to do it, make your summer writing plans known to someone, somewhere, and use that positive accountability to help keep your writing commitment to yourself.
- Get creative about where and when you write
Many writers find that sunshine, in particular, has a way of luring us away from our writing, as if we can’t bear to look inward when the gorgeous light is shining outside. The solution: get creative about where and when you sit down to do it.
Take your writing outside with you, write early in the morning, or later at night, so you can still indulge in summer daytime delights while you’re writing. You could also treat the summer like a special writing season by finding unique places to write in, like a museum.
If you’re a parent, try this: When summer days roll around, I’m a fan of writing before my kids get up or after they’ve gone to sleep, so I have the day to spend with them now that they’re around and not in school. If they’re off at camp, I confine my writing to the hours they’re gone, so I can go out and play with them after. It’s not always easy, especially if I’m longing for a little kid-free down time, but it’s always worth it. Because I’m the parent with the more flexible schedule, I can also head out to a café, restaurant, or library in the evening when my husband is home to create a little extra writing time here and there when needed.
- Decide ahead of time whether you’ll write on vacation or not
Taking time off from writing when you go on a vacation can significantly disrupt your writing habit. But it also tends to be much harder to write than we anticipate when we’re traveling, primarily because we’re so out of our normal routines and structures.
My advice: be intentional about whether you’ll write while on vacation or not. Either make the decision ahead of time to take a real vacation with a planned day to start back up with your writing, just like you’d do with a day job when you return from a trip. Or, get crystal clear about how, where and when you’ll write while you’re on away. Are you getting up earlier than your peeps and sneaking off to write somewhere while they sleep? Getting a separate room? Taking time out for periodic writing sprints? Plan ahead so you know exactly what you’re doing, and it’ll be much easier to stick to the plan and get the writing done!
- See summer movies for inspiration
If you start feeling disconnected from your writing, go to the movies!
Even if you’re not into summer blockbusters, you can gain inspiration for your own writing by seeing what’s out there and responding to it. You’ll see story lines you love and those you disdain. Use your reactions as inspiration to help you write your own best scripts — and to remind yourself why you’re called to write for the screen.
Your Weekend Writer’s Assignment
What are you summer writing plans? Set a goal, make a plan, and put it into action. Find one person (even if it’s me!) to tell about your plans so you have a witness for your conviction and the determination to write. And find a way to have fun with your writing, too. It is summer, after all!
Got Questions You Want Answered?
After working with hundreds of writers over the last seven years, writing coach and Called to Write Founder Jenna Avery has answers for you about how to balance your life and your screenwriting, trust yourself more as writer, fulfill your call to write, and more. Submit your questions to email@example.com or via Jenna’s online form at https://calledtowrite.com/final-draft and she may choose your question to answer anonymously in a future article.
Written by: Jenna AveryJenna Avery is a screenwriter, columnist, and blogger who redesigned her life and career to support her calling to write. She specializes in sci-fi action and space fantasy, and her most recent project is a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story for a Canadian producer. Jenna is also a writing coach and the founder of Called to Write, where she has helped hundreds of writers overcome procrastination, perfectionism, and resistance so they can get their writing onto the page and into the world where it belongs. Jenna writes about writing, creativity, and calling at calledtowrite.com, for ScriptMag, for Final Draft, and teaches for Screenwriter’s University. Download Jenna’s free guidebooks for writers when you join her mailing list at https://www.calledtowrite.com/mailing-list