Right about now, most of us are thinking of one thing — summer vacation! School books are put away, jeans and hoodies are exchanged for swim suits and flip-flops, and the list of all the fun things we want to do feels like a shiny, wrapped up package, waiting to be opened and enjoyed.
But whoa, Nellie! If you’re a young writer — which you probably are or you wouldn’t be reading this — you know that summer is the perfect time, to dive into the adventure of improving your craft.
So here’s my advice to help you become a better writer over the summer.
#1. Read a lot.
We spend a lot of time practicing to turn our own phrases on a page, but we learn the art of better writing largely by reading. So don’t leave home without a book. When you’re at the beach, waiting at an appointment, riding along in the car, or just lounging, use the time you can to read. We all stay up a little bit later at night during summer. Use those winding-down hours at day’s end to read. It’s the stories you read which will inspire your own and will teach you the technical aspects of writing.
#2. Stick to it.
Don’t procrastinate. It’s easy to tell yourself you need a break. You might want to forget about everything over summer. But if you’re serious about being a writer, use your summer break to work without the distraction of all your other subjects getting in the way. Spend some time writing each day. It might be a blog. It might be a page in your current story. It might be a journal entry where you’ll flesh out your thoughts on a project. You never know, you might finish a novel. Just WRITE!
#3. Connect with other young writers and share your work.
Some people are not very good at critiquing. They are a little too intentionally critical. But writers need to grow very thick skins. Criticism is part of the game and teaches humility. If you know other writers, young or old, and are willing to open up your work to them, and to ask questions, you will gain a huge amount of insight into your progress. But if neither you nor your writing friend have done this sort of thing before, set some parameters for critiquing. Honesty with tact and kindness is a good place to start.
Have a great, fruitful summer!