Every school year, I amass an impressive pile of books for my own summer reading: novels, nonfiction, plays, professional books, journals, and magazines. Always more than I can realistically read in a single season, this collection represents the mythic promise of never-ending summer, abundant with time to relax and recharge.
As I look back on my annual ritual, I realize that I never plan the same way for writing. I typically neglect my personal and professional growth as a writer simply because I’ve never thought of giving myself the time and structure to focus on writing. There’s something about a list of future writing tasks that simply doesn’t hold the same appeal as that iconic stack of summer reading books.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to help me focus on myself as a writer this summer—just as much as I will as a reader. I’ll share a few of my ideas here, with the hope that you’ll contribute some of the ways you plan to keep writing on your list over the summer break.
- Start a blog. The early days of summer provide the perfect time to go to Blogger or Wordpress, set up an account, and start writing. Last year, a colleague used her family’s summer vacation as the starting point for a blog, and now she updates it regularly with writing that is meaningful to her. It’s also not a bad idea to give yourself a few months practice if you’re thinking about having your students blog during the next school year.
- Form a virtual writing group. Busy schedules and summer vacations don’t have to get in the way of sharing your writing with a group of fellow writers. Find a few friends or colleagues who are interested in supporting each other as writers. Set up a space in Google Docs where you can upload, store, and share writing. Even if you have a fully-functioning group that meets face to face, participating in an online environment can enrich and enhance the dynamics of sharing and responding.
- Contribute a piece to the National Gallery of Writing. Whether you’d like to submit meaningful writing to the national-level gallery or to a local gallery (you can even start a gallery yourself), participating in the activities leading up to the National Day on Writing is a great way to reaffirm your commitment to writing as an important part of your identity.