Summer Writing

Well, we’re not even a week into summer vacation, and I can already feel the shift in patterns–the patterns of the day and the patterns of my writing. Things are slowing down, which is wonderful, but which I also have to remind myself to roll with–let my brain unwind along with the schedule. We’re not taking any big trips, but we’re scheduling plenty of Summer Fun around the bay area, and that takes a different kind of planning. There’s sleeping in and staying up later, board games and reading in the sunshine. It’s all good.

As long as I don’t let the writing drift away on the clouds of relaxation. 🙂

  • I thought I’d throw out a few tips for keeping the writing going during the summer and invite you all to drop your ideas into the comments. Between all of us, we can manage to have a fun and productive summer. Sleep in, but not too long. If we don’t have anything planned, my son will sleep till 11:00 at least, and, oh, there are so many mornings where I could just lie in bed and daydream or read. I’m working on getting myself up and about an hour or so later than usual, and letting myself move more slowly than I do during the school year. I figure I’ll get better at this as the summer goes along!
  • Take your work to a new place. I’m getting outside a lot more this week. I’ve got a nice new laptop, with a more powerful battery, and there’s always an extension cord if I need it. Maybe you’ll need to schedule a few evenings out a the coffeehouse to write–maybe I will, too. There are a couple of Netflix movies still lying around the house that I”m not that excited to see–maybe the guys need a movie night without me around!
  • See about reducing some of that social networking. This one is big challenge for me, especially when summer can feel more like tiny pockets of time that lend themselves to dawdling, more than to intense productivity. But I’m working on it. I’m going to try & chunk out the time I spend on Facebook & Twitter and keep it away from my concentrated writing. I’ll probably also reduce the number of blog posts I put up–it’s writing time, yes, but it’s not BOOK time.
  • Don’t wait for kid-time to just come along and rear its head. Around here, that leads to a lot of gray time where I and my son aren’t really doing anything–separately or alone. If I make the tiniest effort to pull something together for us–guess what? We both have fun, and whatever we’re doing adds that little bit of structure to our day that lets us relax and enjoy the rest of the day. (Hey, kind of like plotting!) Like I said, we’ll play board games, get our books out together, do some easy outings, and–yes–check off a few chores on the list. And I’ve decided that one summer goal for me is to get better at Mario Kart. Since this pretty much entails learning to keep Yoshi on the road, improvement should be possible. Hand-and-eye coordination, folks. And video games together are more social than video games alone.
  • Stay present. Again, this is a biggie for me–since I tend to live a good percentage of my life in the future: worrying, planning, just thinking “out there.” If you’re one of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld characters, there’s probably some value in this, or at least humor. Not so much in this world. My goal this summer is to enjoy what I’m doing while I’m doing it, and move as gracefully and happily from one thing to another as the day rolls. And one of those things will be writing.

What about you? What tricks do you use to enjoy the summer and get your writing done? What works best for you?


  1. Not sure I have tips. Am just wondering how you write outside. Do you have a special screen or a polaroid filter? I just can’t work outside for all the glare. I would love to, though.

    If I don’t travel too much summer can actually be good writing time for me since I don’t have as many speaking engagemtns. And alternating writing with outdoor work is a good rythym for me.


    • beckylevine says:

      I’ve been working in the shade of the house. We had a couple of really hot days, and I got about two hours in the morning before the sun started burning my feet. Ditto in the evenings, if I put my back to the house, that seems to block out most of the glare. I do have to tip the monitor back & forth a bit to get the least of it!

      I bet, with the alternating, you’ve got a beautiful garden to write in, if you could find the glare-less spot! 🙂


  2. Ha! speaking engagements, I meant to say!


  3. I have to say sitting by the wall of the house is my best bet but it’s still not idea. I have some great garden spots but they actually a little further away from the wall of the house.

    Isn’t it crazy how guilty we feel when we fail to catch a typo in a comment we make? If I were really secure I would probably blog it off and move on.


  4. Ha! Ideal – speaking of typos and insecurities! I’ve really got to work on this.


  5. True. Lately I’ve mostly been working on my treadmill desk. It’s hot outside. But early morning is ideal for being outside.


  6. ahh…i’m on vacation in Tn, took my new Mac outside and am learning it in the shade of the deck. My goal this week: improve my golf game and learn how to use my Mac. And maybe I’ll get some writing in too!


  7. Oh boy — I’m having a tough time this summer. Maybe because I had a more productive school year, and now…ahh…the sun, the fun…

    I do still get up about an hour before everyone else, so that is (supposed to be) my blogging/email/social media time. Then I get another hour or so at different points in the day when everyone is occupied. I’m not sweating it too much, though. For now. 😉


    • beckylevine says:

      It is really easy to relax into the summer, and–you know–it’s important that we do that, too.

      That said, tomorrow I WRITE! 🙂


  8. Phil Giunta says:

    I’m lucky enough to have a sunroom on the back of our house plus a large concrete patio outside of that. Both are wonderful places to write. In addition, being a fisherman I tend to bring along my manuscript on outings and once the fishing is done for the day, I’ll pack away the rods and tackle in the car, grab a lawn chair or beach blanket, and write by the water.


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