"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How to Keep Your Writing "Mo-jo" During the Dog Days of Summer

Admit it. Come summer, you trade your laptop for flip flops, ice tea, and the nearest beach. The warmer weather makes you long for outdoor activities, the beauty of nature, and a more relaxed, care-free pace. True? I can dig it.

But don't let a brief season sabotage the progress and success you've worked hard to achieve the other months of the year. As the Good Book states, "moderation in all things."

Summer season is indeed upon us.
And, not only does it usher in hot weather, it also offers endless opportunities for writers to earn extra dough through events of the season.

All that’s required is a little strategy and some ingenuity.
And the great thing is that these ideas work regardless as to where you live, or what genre you write.

Here’s how to explore various topics to potentially pen poems, essays, how-tos, features or fictional pieces and to earn hot cash in the process.

Make a list and check it twice.

Here’s what it might look like:


Graduations and Proms---A look at college career choices, a nostalgic look at your first love, or an essay on defining success for today’s graduate.

Summer reunions---this could include genealogy references, family recipes, or colorful characters.

Summer vacations---Great for travel writing pieces, rating of hotels and restaurants.

Summer gardening---Tips on successful planting, pictures of your back yard and stories of trial and error, or how to cultivate a green thumb.

Summer barbeques and recipes---How to use beer for tender barbeque, or the art of romantic picnics, or how to make the best baked beans.

Summer weddings---Wedding traditions and how not to become a “bride-zilla.” Unusual stories on how couples met.

At-home activities for kids—Arts and craft activities, how to host a book club for teens, summer safety tips. Time management for busy moms.

Summer fashions---Popular trends, hot sales, styles that flatter different figures, foot care for sandal wear.


Fourth of July
Labor Day

National “Awareness” Days

National Safety Month—June—Why and how it came into existence.
Parents’ Day---July---Gift-giving tips
Friendship Day---August
Grandparents’ Day---September
Special Olympics

Choose the most interesting and relevant topics based upon your interests and experiences, and narrow the list down.

For example, for me, since I’m an incurable romantic, summer weddings would definitely be at the top of my list. Summer barbeques would also be a definite possibility since I enjoy food and backyard barbeques. The weddings might inspire my romantic poetry or a personal essay, or even a how-to on planning an economical but beautiful wedding for penny-pinchers!

Address the 5 Ws of journalism: who, what, when, where, why. Don’t forget to provide colorful anecdotes and quotes to provide richness.

Start sketching and fleshing out viable ideas.
Ideally the more passionate you are about the subject, the easier and more enjoyable it is to write, and the less research required.

Identify potential markets.
This is almost a no-brainer. Wedding pieces would go to places like Today’s Bride or Bride’s Noir. Recipes would find a home at Taste of Home or Woman’s Day. You’ll also find a great database of magazine guidelines at Writing for Dollars. Once this is done, check the publication’s archives and their editorial calendars to identify the best time to approach the publication with a query or completed piece.

Follow these fabulous tips and you’ll find creative projects and pay to last the whole year! Carpe diem!

Thoughts? Do you find it harder to be more productive and focused during the dog days of summer? Any secrets to staying on task? Do tell.

Image: SPFF


  1. Thanks for sharing some of your secrets for staying on task. You are absolutely right about the more relaxed
    and care-free pace.

    Those indeed are practical (market driven) strategies. I once aimed to write a Summer Piece (also actually really fine tuning Grammar and all) and finished it around Mid Winter. Because of that I discovered that I might better Set my own pace and Position myself as more of an
    - Exclusive - Writer, with mainly - Highly Exclusive - Blogposts.

    For what the Travel Theme, and - making money is concerned, on my Travel Blog you can find Blogposts about and resources for - amung other things - making money with (Travel) Photography and Travel Writing. Feel free to also buy any of the Recommended Travel Reading you can find on that blog so I can earn some extra dough for my vacation :)

    (You can find a link to
    the Travel Blog near the top
    of my - Writer's Lifestyle - Blog)

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 25, 2012 at 7:25 AM


      Thanks again for the blog mention at your site.
      I appreciate the "link love."

      I can see the increase in my traffic as a result.

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 21, 2012 at 5:56 AM


    You're always an "interesting read". :-) Thanks so much for your thoughts and for sharing your available products and services.
    I appreciate your time and feedback.

  3. A high five for the summer weddings! Amazing tips and topics. Thanks for making it easier for us.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksJune 22, 2012 at 12:06 PM


      So glad to hear from you. Glad you found this post helpful. I'm always happy to be of help. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing.
      Rock on! :-)

  4. Add how to stay cool to the list. It's hotter than a firecracker in Chicago! I don't know about other states, but from the news reports, they can use this advice, too!