Would you love to fall in love with your writing this summer?
It’s certainly my intention, as I move towards finishing a novel. Here are some ideas to help deepen your inspiration and also to make writing fun and enticing over the summer months.
Which of these would you like to implement in the weeks ahead? It would be wonderful to hear how you get on…
1. Garden-writing – of course. If you don’t have a garden of your own, you could visit a local park with a notebook and pen. It’s such a wonderful way of honouring the season and your own creative inspiration. I always suggest that my clients write down how they feel after writing. It’s invariably good. I think we often forget how we thrive when we are engaged creatively. If it’s summer where you are, do aim to get outside to write at least once this week. Whether you work on your current novel or write a journal entry, I’m sure you’ll feel proud and empowered by the act of writing.
2. Visit an inspiring garden. The picture above is of me at Sissinghurst, one of my favourite places. I loved the biography Vita by Victoria Glendinning. There’s something so special about climbing up the tower to Vita’s writing room and seeing the desk with the portrait of Virginia Woolf. One can’t help but want to come home and pen one’s own work.
3. Give yourself a September deadline. Decide that you’re going to finish your book proposal or your first three chapters or your entire book by a particular date. Challenge yourself to get it done. I’m aiming to finish my revisions for an interested agent by the end of July. Yesterday, Jacqueline sat with me whilst I mapped out, very simply, a daily writing hour. I looked at my journal, found the gaps and put numbered sessions on the calendar. It’s exciting to imagine the end of a project and I right now, feel more engaged with my book than I have done for some time.
4. Think of a book that you adored when you were a lot younger – one that made you swoon with excitement about words and stories. Vow to read it again this summer, to reconnect with your first passion for literature. That’s my plan and I can’t wait. I’m torn between John Fowles’ ‘The Magus’ and A.S. Byatt’s ‘Possession’. Or maybe it will have to be both. In the meantime, I’ve just begun ‘The Long View’ by Elizabeth Jane Howard – my first time with her work.
5. If you’re lucky enough to be going on holiday, take your writing with you. Does it feel too much like work? Then pack a journal and be sure to put in time each day to write down your inspirations and thoughts. Or write something entirely different that feels lighter and more fun… If you are not going away, can you take time out for a writing ‘staycation’, even if just for a few days?
6. Do you find it hard to find time for writing? If so, choose a genre that feels more achievable – perhaps explore poetry for the first time or flash fiction, or simply impressions of the world around you. Let others know it is important for you to have this time for yourself each day. If you have children, let them play close by whilst you jot in your notebook.
7. If it’s physically possible, take your writing on a secret date. Plan it like a guilt-free clandestine romance. Will you choose a secluded coffee shop or a cocktail bar? A woodland glade or a rowing boat? I’d ask you to let me know your ideas if I didn’t know it was your secret.
8. For those who know other writers, plan a writer’s get-together and agree to read your work aloud to each other – just for fun. There’s no need to give feedback. Simply tell each other stories and enjoy…(if you want to meet more writers, do join our community – we’ll be sharing a summer picnic in London in August).
9. If you feel alone with your writing, why not find out whether there’s a writer’s group or a book group run by a local library. (And yes, I know that isn’t always easy given the appalling library closures in recent years which I chronicled here.) An alternative would be to put up a notice in your community, asking if there are other writers who would like to meet up. There’s nothing like the company of other fellow souls to help inspire you.
10. Finally, remember that if you want a love affair with your writing, then you need to treat it with respect. If you only pick up your pen/keyboard once in a blue moon, then really, your writing is just a flirtation. Or worse – a neglected partner. In the world of writing, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. It’s quite a passion-killer. So put things right this summer. It’s never too late to rekindle the romance with your work-in-progress. Every time you work on your book/essays/play/poems, the involvement deepens. You start to dream about your ideas. Ideas pop into your head as you’re enjoying an ice-cream in the shade and you just know you have to take out your pen (and your ever-present notebook) and nurture your creative spirit to keep it vibrant and beautiful. I wish you a wonderful summer…
If you’d like to join me for my programme “Fall in Love with your Writing this Summer”, you can find out more here: