From the Archives: “5 Tips to Improve Your Writing this Summer”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: June 15th, 2015 ]

Summer is the perfect time to work on your writing projects and start the self-publishing process. Each week this month, I will offer advice to help you achieve your writing goals this summer. Be sure to check out the last two posts: Kick Off Summer with Self-Publishing and Self-Publishing Authors, Take A Vacation.

This week I’ll share five writing tips to help you achieve your writing goals this season:

1. Read, read, and read some more.

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your reading wish list and reread some of your favorites. As you sit by the pool or lounge on the beach, be sure to have a stack of books with you. Read a variety of materials over the summer — books in your genre, classic books, books you normally wouldn’t read, newspapers, magazines, even children’s books. Reading is one of the best ways to improve your craft and find inspiration.

2. Browse Pinterest.

Now, you might be thinking that Pinterest is just a way to avoid actually writing, but it can be a great resource for writers. You can use it to collect inspiration for your stories as well as promote yourself and your work. The key is to be strategic in how you spend your time when on the website.

3. Practice writing.

While it’s important to work on your writing project, it’s always fun and smart to take time to just work on the craft of writing. Read a book or blog about improving your craft. Do short writing prompts. Join a writing group. Try writing something in a different genre. All of this “playing” can improve and inspire your writing projects.

4. Try something new.

Novelty is important for writers because the best characters and stories are often inspired by simply living life. This summer take time to try new things. Go to a new restaurant. Visit a museum. Go to a sporting event. Take a class. It doesn’t matter what it is. It just has to be something you’ve never done before.

5. Create a writing space.

Where you work impacts your productivity and creativity. While everyone’s ideal work space is different, it is important to set up an area in your home, or find a place you can go to, that helps you get in the mood to write. Make it clutter free. Hang quotes or photos that are inspirational. Have all of the materials you need in one place. Play some inspiring music.

I’d love to know, what are your doing this summer to improve your writing?

We’ve talked a bit recently (more recently than 2015!) about preparing for the upcoming summer, and I’m back today to synthesize past, present, and future–wait, that sounds a little too grand a statement. But, well, in a sense it’s accurate.

Do these points still hold true? Yes they do. And while there are other tips which might improve your writing this summer (in particular, you might swap out hopping on Pinterest for hopping on any other visual or social media platform), there is nothing to replace the more basic precept of expanding your taste and range (by reading), gathering information and inspiration (by browsing online), practicing, experimenting, and protecting your writing process (by protecting your writing space … and time).

if there was one “tip” I would add to my list this spring, as we transition into planning for summer, it’s this: Struggle. And don’t fight it … outsmart it. As Anne Lamott writes in Bird by Bird, writing is as much a process of foundering as it is of succeeding, and anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. She writes:

“But how?” my students ask. “How do you actually do it?”
You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on the computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind — a scene, a locale, a character, whatever — and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind.”

Listen to those “other voices” this spring and summer. There will always be distractions and things competing with your desire or ability to write, but the fact that they exist does not make you a failure, the same way that actually being impeded by them doesn’t make you a failure. You will find your way through the thicket, and you’ll do it at your own pace and with the unique imagination which makes your work stand apart.

summer reading

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

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