As a writer, summer really doesn’t start for me until I sign up for the library’s summer reading club. And that’s when I get my book on.
Of course I read books throughout the year. But when the summer reading club rolls around, I step up my game. I schedule in reading hours at night and at lunch. I choose books that I’m excited to read about. I limit my movie-streaming habit to make more room for reading.
Nevermind that I never win the grand prize. The goal is to read and to be proud of all that I have read during the hot months.
Besides, what else are you going to do at the beach once you’re done swimming?
Recently, I went on a mini beach vacation for some needed R&R. And I spent most of the time reading by the lake in the 120-degree sunshine.
What I love about summer reading clubs is that it keeps me motivated to read. It eliminates the excuses I succumb to during the colder months.
But summer reading clubs are also a curse.
I know what you’re thinking: How can reading a great book be bad?
Because it takes away from my writing time.
I’m so focused on reading time that I’m not making time to write. June, July and August will coast on by without me ever picking up a pen.
And this is true for many writers. I know I’m not the only writer who geeks out over summer reading clubs and raiding library and bookstore shelves.
Are you making time to write and read?
This got me thinking: Why don’t we create summer writing clubs?
Think about it. If summer reading clubs keep us this goal-oriented towards reading, then a summer writing club can keep us goal-oriented towards writing.
I would schedule in writing hours at night and at lunch. I would choose to write plays or novels that I’m excited to write about. I would limit my movie-streaming habit to make more room for writing.
If I only had a summer writing club…
There are substitutions. NaNoWriMo (or my version of it) challenges us writers to get down as many words as possible in November. MFA students have the rigor of a course syllabus to keep at pressing writing projects. Even creative writing courses at the local community college or bookstore writing groups inspire our creativity.
But a summer writing club could help develop patterns to always make time to write.
It doesn’t have to be about which writer writes the most words or finishes a writing project first. It doesn’t even have to be about sharing what you write with the group—especially if you’re not ready to share quite yet.
It just needs to be about making time to write. About looking forward to a certain season to renew your commitment to writing as we do with reading for summer reading clubs.
In order to not conflict with our summer reading club, it should be a spring writing club or fall writing club. A spring writing club is fitting for renewing creativity, while a fall writing club can provide peer support to partake in NaNoWriMo.