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Advice for writers

How to Stay Productive as a Writer During Summer

woman sitting with a notebook in hand alongside the text "unlock your summer writing potential"

Unlock Your Summer Writing Potential

As the summer sun beckons and the allure of vacation grows stronger, many of us writers find ourselves torn between the desire to relax and the need to keep our creative momentum going. I’ve faced this dilemma countless times, and I’m here to share some strategies that have helped me maintain summer writing productivity without sacrificing the joys of summer. Let’s explore how we can make the most of the season while still nurturing our writing careers!

Why is summer writing challenging?

Summer poses unique challenges for writers. The change in routine, family obligations, and the temptation of outdoor activities can easily disrupt our writing schedules. According to a study by the University of California, productivity can drop by up to 20% during summer months. However, this doesn’t mean we should resign ourselves to a season of writer’s block.

How can we adapt our summer writing routines?

Embrace outdoor writing

One of the best ways to combine summer enjoyment with productivity is to take your writing outdoors. Find a shady spot in your garden, a quiet corner in a park, or a comfortable spot on your balcony. The change of scenery can be incredibly inspiring and help refresh your creativity. I’ve found that writing in nature not only boosts my mood but also enhances my descriptive skills as I become more attuned to my surroundings.

Set realistic goals

During summer, it’s crucial to adjust your expectations. Instead of aiming for your usual word count, consider setting smaller, achievable goals. As Jim Denney suggests in his book Writing in Overdrive: Write Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly, setting realistic targets can help maintain momentum without feeling overwhelmed.

Utilize shorter writing sessions

Rather than blocking out large chunks of time, try integrating shorter writing sessions into your daily summer schedule. Aim for 1-2 hours of focused writing every workday. This approach allows you to make steady progress while still having plenty of time for summer activities.

summer writing 1

What about when we’re traveling?

Maintaining a writing routine while traveling can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some strategies:

Pack light writing tools

Consider using a lightweight laptop or even a tablet with a portable keyboard. This makes it easier to write on the go, whether you’re at the beach, in a café, or waiting at an airport.

Use travel time productively

Long flights or train rides can be perfect for writing. I often use this time for brainstorming, outlining, or even drafting scenes. The lack of internet distractions can be a blessing in disguise!

Schedule writing time

Just as you plan your vacation activities, schedule specific times for writing. This could be early mornings before the day’s adventures begin or during afternoon downtime.

How can we stay motivated during summer?

Join summer writing challenges

Many writing communities offer summer-specific challenges. For example, Camp NaNoWriMo takes place in July and can be a great motivator. These challenges provide structure and a sense of community that can keep you accountable.

Create a summer writing bucket list

List specific writing goals you want to achieve during the summer. This might include finishing a chapter, outlining a new story, or researching for your next book. Crossing items off this list can be incredibly satisfying.

Reward yourself

Set up a reward system for meeting your writing goals. This could be as simple as treating yourself to an ice cream after hitting your daily word count or planning a special outing after completing a chapter.

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What if we need a break?

It’s important to remember that taking breaks can actually boost productivity. As Kenneth Atchity points out in A Writer’s Time: Making the Time to Write, periods of rest are essential for creative recharging. If you feel the need for a break, consider these productive alternatives:

Read in your genre

Summer is an excellent time to catch up on reading. Choose books in your genre to stay inspired and informed about current trends.

Research and brainstorm

Use downtime to research areas you’ve been struggling with in your writing or to brainstorm new ideas. This mental work can be just as valuable as actual writing.

Focus on marketing and platform building

If you’re not in the mood for writing, shift your focus to other aspects of your author career. Make a list of marketing tasks or work on building your author platform.

How can we make the most of summer inspiration?

Summer offers unique experiences that can enrich our writing:


Busy summer locations like beaches, parks, and festivals are great for observing human behavior and gathering character inspiration.

New experiences

Try new activities or visit new places. These experiences can provide fresh perspectives and ideas for your writing.

Sensory details

Pay attention to the specific sights, sounds, and smells of summer. These details can add richness to your descriptive writing.

In conclusion, staying productive as a writer during summer vacations is all about balance and adaptability. By adjusting our routines, setting realistic goals, and finding ways to integrate writing into our summer activities, we can enjoy the season while still making progress on our writing projects.

Remember, every word written is a step forward, no matter how small. So, grab your sunscreen, find a shady spot, and let your creativity flow this summer!

EKB author photo 1

Erin K. Larson-Burnett, Production Manager at Atmosphere Press (submit your manuscript here!), is a born-and-raised Southerner currently living in Katy, Texas, with her husband and their small domestic zoo. She is an avid ink drinker who lives and breathes books—during the day, she works remotely with authors around the world, honing and perfecting books published through Atmosphere Press. By night, she crafts her own stories…or at least tries to. The Bear & the Rose is her debut novel.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.