Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In the Good Old Summertime

It's been interesting to read how summer affects the writing schedules of my co-bloggers. For Jeanne Marie, it's a time when she can write more consistently than usual. For Esther, it's time to catch up reading, with not so much writing. And for Mary Ann, it's a time to be inspired by her workshop students.

Like Mary Ann, I'm also inspired by the young writers in my summer camps. I teach two girls' writing camps at the Hinsdale Center for the Arts. (If you know any girls in the Chicago area who like to write, there's still time to enroll. See the right sidebar of this page on my website for details.) But since I also teach young writers via homeschool and private classes during the school year, I'm lucky enough to have that inspiration all year long. 

So, in summer, what I look forward to is the opportunity to vary my writing venue and routine. The warmer weather means I can take my laptop out on the patio to work. Or, if it's too hot, I can escape to the library or a coffee shop without having to bundle up in layers of clothes. Granted, we probably have enough good days in spring and fall to do the same, but for some reason, when summer arrives, I have a sudden longing to spend more time outdoors, or at least out of my office.
Wish MY backyard had as many flowers as this writer's!
I found it ironic, then, to be posting the following on my Facebook page a few weeks ago:
This would be a lovely day to work outside. Only trouble is, I'm writing a scene set in mid-December, 1736 in a drafty palazzo. Don't want to make it too hard for my imagination. :-) 
Instead of sitting outside, where I really wanted to be, I stayed at my computer desk clutching a glass of iced tea to help me feel cold. It worked too--I ended up with goosebumps, which was perfect. The things we do for our craft! (Maybe if I had a stronger imagination I could have written the scene while sitting in the warm sunshine.)
How about you? Do you ever change your writing environment to give your imagination a boost? I'd also like to know, does your writing routine change at all in summer? Please share your answers by posting a comment. And if you try the following Writing Workout, let me know how it works for you.

Don't forget--today's the last day to enter to win an autographed copy of David Harrison's terrific picture book Cowboys (Wordsong)! Read April's amazing interview with him for details.

Writing Workout
Varying Your Writing Venue

Do you tend to write in the same one or two places all the time? If so, try a change of venue and observe how it affects your writing. Some possibilities:
  • at the beach
  • in your backyard
  • at a park
  • at the zoo
  • at an outdoor concert
  • in a coffee shop
  • in a restaurant
  • at the library
  • at a museum
If you've never thought much about how your surroundings affect your writing, check out this post, "Where's Your Writing Location" by Steven Savage.

And wherever you end up, Happy Writing!


Shari A. Brady said...

Hi Carmela,
I saw this while on FB and have to comment, as summer for me is complete chaos. My kids are middle-schoolers, so I work feverishly before noon and then whenever I'm not in the car :)! I'm so glad to see your post. My new YA novel was just released and I already have aspiring middle schoolers wondering where to go for writing classes. I will point them here!
Good luck w/summer.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Shari. Good luck squeezing in as much writing time as you can this summer. Congrats on the release of your novel! And thanks for sharing the info about my writing classes.

Linda at teacherdance said...

Thanks for thinking of the varied choices for writing when summer comes, Carmela. We don't have air conditioning (Denver area) & almost always it's just fine, a few uncomfortable days but that's okay. It's been terribly hot lately, into the triple digits, so off to the outside shade I go. I've rarely worked on my patio, but the wireless works there too & it's a lovely feeling to be out with the birds and butterflies. I love your story about the forced goosebumps. Writers do have to make some sacrifices I suppose.

Carmela Martino said...

Oh, my, I would hate to live without a/c when temps are in triple digits. (I'm praying for those in eastern U.S. forced to do so right now because of the recent storms.) Glad you're able to hang out and write in the shade, Linda. I hope your weather has cooled off by now. Thanks for stopping by.