Summer Writing 101: 6 Easy Steps
By Lauren Cerretti
I’ve written before about how great the summer is for your writing, but I thought it was important to give you a how-to on making it work for you.
1. Prioritize your work over your other activities and prioritize some writing projects over others. What is it most important for you to complete this summer? How would finishing that article, chapter, etc position you in the fall? Would you be ahead of things (and therefore more relaxed and prepared for fall) or would you be in the same spot as if you hadn’t finished that project? Different projects have greater or lesser significance in different fields so while a blog might be procrastination for one student, it might be fulfilling part of a thesis for another.
2. Set a tangible goal for yourself (e.g. write one article by August 1st, revise one chapter a month for three months, write the methods section by two weeks). A tangible goal is much better than “write more” because it is concrete and measurable. You will know, without a doubt, if you’ve met this goal, whereas “write more” is very subjective and easier to shirk.
3. Within your tangible goal should be action steps and smaller goals such as “write for 3 hours a week.” Those three hours can be broken up into 10 minute increments if they must be, and as long as you make your time goal, you’ve completed your action step. It’s also okay to ease into your big writing goals. If three hours a week sounds far too difficult right now, start smaller. The point is always to start writing and keep writing.
4. Start over with new resolve. If you don’t reach your goal, give yourself an extension and keep at it. Some writing is always better than no writing. Don’t give up.
5. Seek out support such as peers, instructors, mentors, and the Grad Writing Tutor. You can reach me all summer long at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Write. Make time for writing, for hating writing, for struggle, for success. You need space and time and the writing should happen. If it doesn’t, refer to step 5 and shoot me an email.
About the author: Lauren Cerretti is the graduate writing tutor at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.