Writers – How to Enjoy Your Summer Break and Still Work – Three Great Tips
It’s August, the kids are off school, the sun is out (hopefully) and you’re struggling to find the time and the motivation to write. Here are three tips to keep you busy and give your negative feelings a positive twist so that even in the summer holidays, you can still be a writer.
NB: these ideas involve being out and about and around people. Please remember to follow the recommended COVID protocols in your part of the world. Please keep yourself and others safe.
Tip 1: Develop Your Observation Skills
To be a good writer you need to be nosy – err… sorry, observant. So, here’s a great opportunity to do just that. Use the time while you’re waiting as your little someone else is busy at the playground, on the beach or watching some event to be a productive writer. You can do this by observing.
To misquote Shakespeare: all the world’s a stage and writers must be viewers. Watch and think about how people interact with one another. Look at how a mood can change with one little action. See the joy, the fun, the boredom, the irritation, the anger.
Give yourself the time you’ll be spending in new situations and with new people around you to develop that most important part of creative writing, observing people. If you want to, make a note or two (perhaps on your phone), but don’t overly worry. You’re developing a key skill for writers, not actually writing.
Tip 2: Get in Touch with Your Senses
All creative writers know, that it’s relatively easy to describe what your character is seeing or hearing. But what about their other senses – smell, touch, taste? Not so straightforward.
During August, you’ll have times when you’re at places you don’t usually visit, for example the beach, the zoo or a friend’s house. There will be moments when you’re just sitting and waiting. Use these times to get in touch with your senses.
Close your eyes and focus on what you can smell. Touch something where you are, the wooden bench for example. Think about the taste in your empty mouth, or the taste created by what you’re eating or drinking. It will take less than half a minute, but really think about it.
How could you describe it? How could you link that sense to a feeling – happiness perhaps or fear?
Don’t worry about writing these in your notebook. You’re developing your skill in sensing things for yourself. This is just a training run. You’ll be able to use that developed skill another day when you’re back at your writing desk.
Tip 3: Take the Time to Plan
If you are making a living through writing, you’ll know that taking time to plan can be a really difficulty. The time never seems to be there, or if it is, it’s often towards the end of the day when you’re feeling tired.
Well – welcome to August! You now how time to plan.
It could be that you need to rethink how your writing day could work better (once September arrives). Or, it’s that writing project that stalled back earlier in the year. Can you plan out how to breathe new life into it?
The time might be coming when you need to be bold about a writing contract, perhaps it’s time to move on, but fear is holding you back. In the calmer, warmer days of August when you’ve stepped away from the grindstone, your mind may be clearer and you can plan your next move.
So, during August: Develop those observation skills. Get in touch with your senses. And, take the time to plan.
As creative people, it can be hard to ever properly switch off from your work. But that doesn’t mean you have to be at your writing desk all year round. There are times when other things take priority. But hopefully, bearing in mind these three tips, you can relax and enjoy the August holidays and hit the ground running in September.