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Finding Pockets of Time to Read & Write in the Summer

I’ve been scrolling through social media lately—as one does! Many of the people and accounts I follow (like many of you) are writerly types and so I love reading your updates of all things related to books. But still it amazes me how many of you are able to write more, read more, and blog/ vlog more through the summer months. On paper it makes perfect sense. The calendar says school is out and the sun shines longer. But still… IT’S SUMMER. There are so many things to do! How in the world do all of you find the time?

When it comes to reading and writing, I feel like the relaxed days of summer have passed me by already and I have no one to blame but myself. Hence, I decided to blog today about strategies for making time to write and making time to read over the summer, because really, I could use the reminder/ pep talk myself!

While I do love writing, obviously, and I do love reading, I’m not one to have my nose stuck in a book all the time—as much as I do like to imagine myself as Belle, roaming the streets of France with book in hand, or inside the Beast’s mansion getting caught up in a faraway land on a rainy summer morning.

This past week is the perfect example. After a few inspired days in Disney World with my husband and our two kids, we spent the week at a lovely beach resort in Hilton head, SC with my parents. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) It was relaxing and beautiful and just exactly the type of vacation I had been craving after a whirlwind few months post launch day, and more recently—post  graduation party planning/ hosting for my recent high school graduate. (Congrats, Adam!) But while I saw many people at the pool (some actually in the pool) reading a book, I was not one of them. I was too busy doing yoga on the beach with my daughter, catching up with my parents at the pool, and feeling the warm (okay blistering hot) sun on my face. Besides, there was a little girl from London I needed to meet (hello character inspiration!) AND some much needed sunshine calling my name!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, while it’s important to find time to write and get caught up in a good book, sometimes it’s just as important to reconnect with family and friends and experience life.

But.

You knew there would be a BUT coming. We’re writers. And writers need to write—even in the summer. We also need to read books. So guys, if you’ve let the summer pass you by without reading or writing as much as you had hoped, don’t dispair! There’s still plenty of time to grab a book from your to- be-read pile and get to work on your WIP. Read a chapter. Draft 100 words. Revise a paragraph. Any little bit will make a difference and most likely lead to reading another chapter, drafting another 500 words, and revising a whole scene.

Here are my best suggestions for getting those books read and words written during the summer months:

Peruse the library. It’s free and being surrounded by books in such a cozy place is soothing… and inspiring. Just think of all the gazillion hours that writers spent on creating the books that fill those shelves! They deserve to be read and enjoyed. Plus, libraries are air conditioned and I know you’re dying to get out of the heat right now.

Wake up before the sun does. We wait all year for the lazy days of summer, but we all know that somehow our lazy days fill up real fast. So before the kids are up, or you have to head off to appointments and work, or before you tackle chores at home…take some time for yourself. Set your alarm for 6am, don’t hit the snooze button, and grab your coffee and your laptop. Work for even an hour on your story while the sun rises. You know that it’s waiting to be written. Maybe it will help you to know that we’re all waiting to read it!

Read a book while you lunch. Instead of perusing social media or watching the news while you eat, open up a book and read—even a few pages. Your mind will appreciate the break from electronics and you may just be inspired to write a few more pages of your own later in the day.

Listen to a Book on Tape. Why not? Those are books too and a great way to experience a great read while doing other things—like driving or washing the kitchen floor.

Grab a notebook and write outdoors. Find a shady spot in your backyard or at the park and let the summer air—even if’s hot and sticky, inspire you to write. Write a scene or a whole chapter. There’s something about writing with good old pencil and paper that makes the whole process super relaxing. Sometimes laptops can make writing feel like work and that’s the last thing you want it to feel like when you’re trying to be creative! Besides, the slush and snow will be here before we know it, so we need all the summer air inspiration we can get!

So that’s it, my friends. It’s not quite rocket science but maybe these few quick tips will be the inspiration you need to get the words read and the words written this week. I’m planning on taking my own advice, and doing the same. I missed waking up before the sun today…I had a very feverish son up most of last night. But, I’m all about taking my notebook outside today to write, and reading a few pages of Allegiant by Veronica Roth while I eat lunch today. I absolutely adored Divergent, the first book in this series. And even though I liked Insurgent too, I read it at a snail’s pace. It literally took me forever. So I’m determined to read this final book in the series at a more reasonable rate. Have I mentioned I’m the world’s slowest reader though?

Good luck to me…and good luck to each of you. I hope we’re all able to find pockets of time this week and fill them up with words! And remember, if you need encouragement or just someone to connect with, comment away.

Until next time, let your incredible story ideas swirl and spark!

Jackie ❤

“Story ideas don’t appear on command. They swirl for awhile in the deepest parts of our minds. So let them. They’ll spark soon enough, and when that spark of an idea feels like fireworks, you’ll know it’s time to fire up your writer’s brain and write your story.”

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