Summer Writing for You, the Teacher

What will you write this summer?

What will you write this summer?

We’ve written quite a bit about independent writing projects for kids here on this blog. In case you missed it, we did a weeklong series on independent writing here, and our own Dana Murphy recently wrote about summer writing here  and here. Yesterday, Betsy wrote about how you can joining a summer writing critique group here.

So, what kind of writing will you be doing once school’s out?

Some ideas for your own summer writing projects:

1. Write some good old-fashioned letters. There’s nothing like a handwritten letter. Maybe you want to write to your children and save the letters for when they’re older. Maybe you’d write to your parents or a distant friend or relative. I have a friend who intermittently sends me the quirkiest little packages: a card that she’s modified herself to make it funny; a clipping from a magazine with my family’s faces glued in to the photo. We all know somebody who wrings their hands and wistfully talks about the days when a handwritten letter “meant something.” Well, there’s no reason you can’t write a letter today. Instead of looking at the “lost art” of letter writing as a sad failure of modern society, embrace it. Snail mail is even more special than ever, a specialty genre that we can have fun with. Embrace it.

2. Start a new blog! Even if you already have one going, maybe there’s a topic that you’ve always thought you should write about. Is there something in your life that you are learning or practicing? Could others benefit from reading about your journey. Think Julie & Julia (What blogger doesn’t love that movie?).

3. Keep a writers’ notebook. Yeah, yeah. You say you already have one. Well, when is the last time you actually wrote in it (when you weren’t at a workshop that required it!). Maybe this summer is the summer that you will keep that promise to yourself to live the writerly life, filling your notebook with ideas, seeds for future stories, essays, poems, and more.

4. Write a poem a day. I never thought that this would ever be feasible in real life. But hear me out. When my daughter was just a few months old, I actually did this. And if I can do it, trust me, anybody can do it.

5. Keep a nature journal or a gardening journal. I am obsessed with my gardening journal. In it, I record everything that’s going on in my garden, from the first planting to the last harvest: the dates that I planted, how long it took for each plant to turn into a seedling, insect invasions, the dates of blossoms, fruits, harvests… Because nature is always changing, there is always something new to record. And, I’ve discovered, there is nothing like your own backyard as a metaphor for your life in general.

6. Try an observation/sketchbook. My daughter will spend hours and hours drawing and coloring. When I watch her busy at work in her notebooks it inspires me to do the same. It’s very freeing to just draw or sketch or doodle without forcing out the words.

7.  Write to your students. You won’t regret it. My daughter’s preschool teacher (who is AMAZING) sends us little cards now and then just to say how proud she is of Little L. You cannot imagine how much these little notes mean to all of us. Little L. places each of those cards on her “special shelf” in her bedroom alongside her most prized possessions.

8. Work on that novel or screenplay you’ve got in your desk drawer. Summer 2014 could be the summer that you do it. Some of you out there have done it before, and you’ll do it again. Some of you are first timers. Set up a schedule for writing — mark it on your calendar like you would any other important appointment — and then stick to it.

9. Try out cool digital writing tools. So maybe doing the same thing all summer isn’t for you? Perhaps you’d like to try out a whole bunch of different cool techie/digital tools for writing that you didn’t have the time to try out during the school year. Betsy from TWT recently shared some ideas for digital writing here, and Tara shared some very cool tools in this post. And Kevin Hodgson (@dogtrax) has a great blog full of ideas for you try out. Make a to-do list of ten things you want to try and have fun working your way down the list.

10. Write letters to your senator/newspaper/local representative. Is there an issue that is near and dear to your heart? Find yourself getting heated up when you talk about it? Whether it’s national issue  like standardized testing, or a local issue in your hometown, you can make your voice heard. Sending a letter is easier than ever now. Just google your issue, or the name of the person you want to write to, and there are a zillion resources to help you. For example,  this how-to page here.

So, again…what kind of writing will you be doing once school’s out? Leave a comment and share your plans. Maybe you’ll inspire another reader to get started writing this summer.