July: summertime is… writing time?

I remember a blog I wrote in 2013 about whether it was easier to write in summer or winter. Personally I find it impossible to sit in the sunshine and write, but I was at Moniack Mhor for their midsummer retreat in June, the weather was gorgeous, and there were several of my fellow writers sitting out, soaking up the sun’s rays and working away.
The big exception for me was summer 2020 when we weren’t allowed to go outside and so I kept at the keyboard indoors. But just before lockdown hit us, I was on a retreat in Morocco and there too I had to be in shade to write.
What I do like to do in the sunshine is read, so when the weather is good my reading quota goes up (and this month’s blog is a top ten beach reads, so if you’re like me, reading in sunshine, hope you’ll like some of those suggestions.)
The other big distraction for me in the summer is the Edinburgh book festival and fringe (and in case you missed last month’s blog, here are my top ideas of things to do). Lots of inspiration for future writing comes from listening to authors at the book festival, and it’s nice to carry those thoughts into autumn when I know I’ll be back at the desk watching the autumn chill settling outside.

(Picture above – my desk at Moniack Mhor for the midsummer writing retreat)

Assuming that you’re like me and you find writing in the sunshine is hard, I thought I’d offer you some ideas. Who knows, might even try them myself!
The most obvious thing is to move away from the keyboard and use pen and paper. No screen glare, change of focus, different muscles….
Pen and paper I find is really useful for brainstorming. So here is an exercise I picked up somewhere that you might find useful.
Imagine you’re sitting under a very large tree, with your back resting against its trunk (or you could do this for real).  On the other side of this very large trunk is a story teller. Write a list of topics for stories you’d like to hear from that storyteller. At least five ideas.
Maybe one of these will spark a new idea in you? If so, why not send it to me? (see below)

How to write

This month’s recommended how to write book  is a great reference books for writers. I’ve always found thesauruses a bit unwieldy and difficult to use, but this book, a standard paperback size, seems to match my brain well and offer some great suggestions when I’m stuck on words. It offers alternative descriptions for words associated with each of the sentences. It even has a selection of writing prompts. A great book to have by your side.

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