The summer months can disappear quickly if you don't have a plan. What seems like an infinite amount of time in the early days can easily be wasted. But, look: I get it. You want to get a lot of writing done this summer AND you want to take a freaking break.
So how do you do both? Short answer: you make a plan, and you stick to it.
This is a really simple approach to planning your summer writing. So simple that most of us don't do it. But taking the time to set intentions and make plans can have a huge impact on your productivity.
The one piece of advice I'll offer before we dive in is to manage your expectations. It's easy to make grand plans in our head and then feel disappointed when we don't meet expectations. The approach I'm suggesting here gets you out of your head and forces you to take action.
But it also channels that action and encourages you to focus. You can get a ton of writing done this summer with this sequential approach to your writing projects. Or you can choose to take it a bit easier. It's up to you. But what I hope you'll take away from this approach is that A) a plan is just a dream until you write it down, and B) you'll get a lot more work done if you whole-ass a project instead of half-assing a bunch of them at once.
Here's how to set yourself up for success this summer:
1. Block off 90 minutes
You probably won't need a full ninety minutes, but block it off anyway. If you finish early, make sure you enjoy that extra time you set aside.
2. Write down all the things you want to work on this summer
Get it all down on the page. Don't hold back. The idea here is to get a bird's-eye view of everything you want to accomplish.
3. List your writing projects according to priority
It's self-explanatory, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Figure out what you absolutely MUST finish by the end of the summer, and what would be a nice-to-finish.
4. Write down all the life stuff you want to do this summer
Same deal, but with life stuff. Road trip, time at a cottage, home improvement project, visiting relatives: make a list of everything that's already scheduled, or on your summer wish list.
5. Map out your top three writing priorities
This is a key step: figure out what it's going to take to complete your top three summer writing priorities by breaking them down into smaller steps. Estimate how long each of those steps will take.
6. Schedule only priority #1 and your life stuff
Add the steps for priority #1—AND ONLY #1—to your weekly calendar. Work only on your top priority until it's finished. If you have a tendency to tinker with your work until it's "perfect" instead of moving on to the next thing, set a firm deadline for your #1 priority and stop working on it when you hit the deadline.
That's all you need to do until you finish your first priority.
You may have discovered in the mapping out and scheduling stages that your #1 priority is going to take the whole summer. THAT'S GREAT! Now you know. You won't be disappointed that you didn't work on your other priorities. You're managing your expectations. You're being realistic.
If you manage to finish priority #1 before the end of the summer, schedule priority #2. And so on.
That's it! Try this for yourself and then tell me in the comments: how did this work for you? What did you discover?