What do you want to write this summer?

Girl Writing OutsideIt’s not too early to start thinking about your summer, your writing summer, that is. What do you want to write before the leaves turn color in the fall? What do you want to start? To finish?

This weekend I got some inspiration from a recent article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly. Angela Wu’s piece “A novel in 12 weeks? No sweat!” highlights a course taught by professor and novelist Susan Choi titled “How to Write a Novel in Twelve Weeks (or at least make a start)”:

“Though most fiction workshops focus on shorter stories, Choi said she wanted to teach a class dealing with novel writing, starting with the importance of putting pen to paper β€” or fingers to keyboard β€” regularly. She requires her six students, selected from a crop of 30 applicants, to e-mail her at least 300 words of their novel every Monday through Friday….

One of Choi’s class policies: no editing allowed. When the goal is to write the first draft of a novel over 60 days, every addition is a sprint to the finish line.” Read More

The idea is an extended version of NaNoWriMo, and it got me to thinking that it’s the perfect summer plan. Because I’m a teacher, I naturally think in terms of the three-part academic year: Spring, Fall, Summer. Because our family homeschooled for ten years, I’m also a committed do-it-yourselfer and life-long learner.

You and I may not be in Professor Choi’s class, but we can write our own syllabus for our own summer course that allows and inspires us to write, to start, to finish… to do whatever it is we want and need to do.

Why not? I’m going to mull this idea over for the next couple of weeks. If I go ahead with it, I’ll post the details here for anyone who wants to follow along.

What do you think?

14 thoughts on “What do you want to write this summer?

  1. That’s a cool idea, though I could never just write without editing. LOL. πŸ˜€
    Since I started writing back in high school, the summer automatically became my writing time. This summer, I hope to finish my WIP and maybe start the next book on my list. We’ll see how it goes.

  2. I like the idea, but will have to pursue it next year. This year, I made the solemn promise to write short stories only–one per week–until the end of the year.

    I’d definitely like to see how the process works, though! Good luck if you decide to go for it! Consider me a member of the eager audience, willing to follow along as you make the summer trek!

  3. I like the idea! I am doing a forensics for writers class this summer which I am hoping will jump-start me on the idea I have for a novel. I’ve been bitten by the short story bug and have been running with it but also want to start giving this longer project some attention.

  4. I’m game. I did NaNoWriMo last year and won! But now I need to actually sit down and rewrite it because churning out 1667 words a day makes for some realllly bad writing. I need to set myself a daily goal, and 300 sounds totally doable.

    • Congrats on NaNoWriMo! I’ve never followed through with it, and I think that the longer time period of 3 months is more in keeping with my writing (and thinking) style.

  5. This is a good idea. I have some time about six weeks actually before starting my master’s program, I will put this time to good use! Great suggestion.

    • Congrats on beginning your master’s program! That’s exciting. I’m going to start working on the syllabus idea…

  6. Great idea Lisa. I am a student so the summer is when I get a big chunk of free time. Perhaps for early writers like me it would be good to follow a book to keep on track and be given tasks each day/week.

    • Katie, I agree that using a book or a collection of resources would be helpful. Now I’m getting excited… πŸ˜€

  7. This feels like a great idea – especially the part of NOT EDITING while writing. Something I am slowly learning, though that perfectionist mind keeps jumping in. I have found Anne Lamott’s book “Bird By Bird,” and Jerry Cleaver’s book “Immediate Fiction” to be very helpful in that regard, and from what I read Susan Choi’s advice supports it, too: like all creating, writing is messy. I’m looking forward to (and a little nervous about) writing 300 words five nights a week for three months. It’s also really helpful to hear(see) others thinking about the challenge. Perhaps you could give support, or an up-date, once a month or so to help keep the faith (if you undertake the project, that is)?
    Thanks for your website, Lisa, it is a pleasure and an inspiration. I appreciate the time, creativity, and effort you put into your blog.
    – Kathrin

  8. Writing my own syllabus for the summer…I like that idea. And, surely I could get 300 words a day down. Hmmm…. I’m just thinking through my summer schedules, wondering if I should draw out a daily plan. Your post has got me thinking (again)!

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