Finding writing inspiration this summer

Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”

—Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

I love magazines, but I tend to hoard stacks and stacks of them until, even for me, it’s too much, and I force myself to donate or recycle. That happened yesterday, my deep woven basket that holds at least a hundred issues was spilling over, and I had to let go.

In the stacks, I found Poets & Writers issues that I held on to from many years past; the “new year” issues are always an inspiration, and how do you let that go?


I get it, the new year is the time to market to all those writers who are saying this year, will be the year… I get published, write every day, submit my work, attend a writing conference, retreat, or take a class…and by the time June rolls around is the motivation the same?

My husband strongly suggested yesterday that I stay off the computer. My job keeps me tied to it more than 45-hours a week. He even offered his desk as a computer-free space I could sit at with a pad of paper to write. I didn’t take him up on that offer because I didn’t feel particularly inspired to write.

Instead, I wanted to enjoy the outside, the garden was beckoning on a perfect summer day and writing was the last thing I wanted to do. For too many summers, I ghost-blogged for a local real-estate company and wrote about all of the activities around Colorado that people should take advantage of.

I wrote about food festivals and food trucks, road trips and places to camp, day hikes, hotels, spas, and hot springs, family-friendly activities, and more. Now that everything is opening up and I no longer have the desire or need for that type of writing, I want to enjoy this summer, but I don’t want to give up creative writing.

Inspired by the season and some ideas from old copies of Poets & Writers, try one or more of the following prompts.

Look at your drafts, notebooks, and writing starts. “Choose one line that stands out, and refine it until it feels as complete and polished as one line out of context can be. Use that line as the refrain in a new poem.” JAN/FEB 2013 Poets & Writers

Brainstorm all of your best and worst summer memories. Write a new fictional ending for the worst.

Write about your patio or porch. If you don’t have one, write about your perfect outdoor space.

Start a fiction piece about a community garden.

Attend a food festival and write a letter to a friend including all the sensory details of the day.

Write about how magical this summer will be.

Now get back to work,


The Writing Nag

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