Why July is Important



July is an important month for writing.  We’re in the middle of the summer, it’s hot outside, the pool and beach are trying to dominate our free time, and there are way too many good movies in theaters right now.  Some people find it easier to write when the days are longer and the weather is nice because they’re in a better mood.  Some people find it easier to write in January when the days are short and cold because a steaming cup of coffee (or hot chocolate if you’re a traitor) somehow makes the wood of your desk seem comfortable.  If you’re the kind that writes better in summer, you better write in July, because if you don’t you can’t really expect to write in January when you’re depressed.  If you prefer writing in the winter, July is the toughest month, but if you make this month a good one you’ll show yourself that you’ve got a solid handle on the whole writing thing.

So happy July everyone.

June was a great month and it went by fast.  I set three writing goals and I’m happy to say that I met them all.  I finished revising Embracing Ghosts, let people read it, and got great feedback (the kind that says, ‘Hey, you don’t suck.  This is something I wouldn’t be too surprised to find on a bookshelf.’).  I also revised The Man in the Black BMW, got even better feedback on that, and will be sending it out to a few places next month. Finally, and most fun of all, I’ve started my new project and made a lot more progress on it than I thought I would.

Big Life Events:

I start work July 14.  I just got my group assignment and I couldn’t be happier with it. I’ll be working on the Large Enterprise team’s Finance Practice (which is consulting mumbo jumbo for finance and accounting work).  It’s exactly what I wanted, but it’s going to be challenging too – full days and an hour long commute each way.  All of this means that I’ll never have had less time to write, so I’m going to have make a real effort.  The metro ride is long but hopefully I can get stuff done while I’m on it (writing, reading, brainstorming, or whatever else).

Writing Events – Goals for July:

1.  As I mentioned in other posts, for me the beginning of a book involves a lot of crazy ideas and free writing, then hours and hours finding the pieces that connect and create a great story.  If I jump right in my story won’t be nearly as suspenseful, well planned, or, to be honest, cool.  The mysteries, the twists and turns, the great backstory, I find that most of this comes from that one month period of lightning (not that I don’t think of many more things while I’m working).  At the end of the month I want to be finished with my brainstorm, have all the dots I want connected in an organized outline, and be ready to break the story into scenes and write.

2.  Have all of the character sheets and backstory ready for the main people in the book. I’ll add to this as I go, but I already have the main players in my head.  I just have to get them down.

3.  Read five good books by great writers and take one writing lesson from each of them. Write the lessons down in my ‘Elements of a Great Book’ document and work on remembering how and why they worked, and how I can use them in my own writing.  I’ll share these at the end of the month.

Random Thing for July:

I’m going up to New York City for the 4th.  I’ll be staying with and seeing a ton of my friends and going out a lot, but I’m going to wake up every day and write something through the pounding hangover, even if it’s just a paragraph or a single idea.

What are your goals for July?  How did you do in June?  Do you get more or less writing done during the summer months? (Or winter months for you southern hemisphere weirdos).  Do you like writing better in the summer or winter?

Each month is just one month of a year, of the many years of your life.  In the grand scheme of things it may not seem like much, but in five years you could have set and met 60 small goals, or you could have set 60 goals and met 30 of them, or you could have let the time go by happily but unproductively.  You could be published, famous, and rich, you could be living humbly where you were but happy with the five books and amazing progress you’ve made, or you could be exactly where you were five years ago and okay with that.  There is no right answer, just keep your dreams in mind when thinking about whether or not it’s worth setting goals this month.  They add up.

15 comments on “Why July is Important”

  1. My June goal was to finally start this blog. Huzzah! Mission accomplished. I also set the goal if writing everyday for 365 days in a row this year. I’m on day 317!

    1. 317. That’s impressive. I think the most I’ve ever managed is a month – days off are just so tempting. Good luck getting to 365, although it sounds like you don’t even need it.

  2. I never thought about writing out a lesson from the books I read. I may have to try that. I’ll be looking for a job soon. I just had my 3rd hip preservation surgery in 5 years, so I after grad school I was unable to work. Kind of excited to actually get back into the work force, but it does mean less time to write. I think you have the right idea to keep writing even if you are drunk. I find if I go a day without writing then it’s still harder to get back into the swing of things. And who knows, you may have some really awesome ideas when you are drunk 😉 I find my best ideas come as I’m falling asleep. I guess it’s because some of my inhibitions slip and my mind can explore new territory that it couldn’t while I was awake. My husband and I will probably stay at home this 4th of July because I’m still on crutches, so it’s hard to go anywhere. I was just in New York City for my last hip surgery 🙂 Although I didn’t get to do anything because I was in the hospital the whole time, lol. My husband got to have some fun though.

    I think planning ahead for your story is a good idea. I did not do that with my current fantasy story and it’s all over the place, and the pacing is horrible. So the next long story I write will have an outline, and if my characters take me in a totally different direction then I guess I’ll just revise it.

    My writing goals for July are to finish my short story about the guy committing suicide and write the next chapter of my fantasy story. Glimmer has a short story contest, and the deadline is July 31st. I mean I’m shooting for the moon, but why not. I don’t have anything to lose XD After it gets rejected then I will apply for more reasonable short story contests. But they usually require your work to be unpublished in print, so I’ll start with the best before moving onto more realistic contests.

    I’m reading five books now, and I’d like to finish 2 of them this month. I have a very short attention span, thus the need to read five books at once, lol. I am rereading Cormac McCarthy’s, The Road, for like the 3rd or 4th time. I’m reading Faulkner’s book of short stories, which is especially apt now that I’m trying to write short stories. I’m also reading a book of America’s Greatest Short Stories, and it’s an awesome collection of writers. There is an author for every year from 1915 to 1999. It’s great because it exposes you to a lot of different writers and styles from Hemingway to contemporary authors like Annie Proulx. My friend gave me a copy of I, Lucifer to read. And I’m reading a fantasy novel, Nightwatch.

    My other goals are to finish my insurance appeal for my hip surgeon. That has been a thorn in my side for months. And to apply for jobs.

    Good luck with your new job and reaching your July goals 🙂

    1. Sounds like you have a lot going on, I’m impressed you can make time to write. The short story books both sound great, I might just check them out – you can learn a lot from short stories even if you aren’t writing them so that’s a great idea. Good luck with everything, especially the post surgery stuff. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I enjoyed reading this post. It seems we both have a full plate, and I love your perspective & goal setting ideas. Good luck to you! Enjoy the 4th in NY. 🙂

  4. Your goals are so inspiring! I’ve always said that “I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions” because I challenge myself and add to the proverbial bucket list year round. I find that it keeps me honest about my goals and much more likely to achieve them in this spread out fashion. Great post! Very inspiring. You are a very good writer.

  5. I like the idea of creating separate work of a back story for each character. Great goals! My goal is to finish the several chapters of book #2 and get the first one sent off to more people to read…and tell me what they think (scary! I just don’t want it to suck!).

  6. “Letting the time go by happily but unproductively…” That is my story! I think my problem is that I love reading so much that I keep reading more and writing not at all. I started my blog in March and I am having so much fun with it. I’m a mother with two kids in middle school, and I am inspired by all the women writers out there who didn’t make it until their kids were grown and out of the house. If I’m ever going to make my mark as a writer, that’s when it’ll happen. Meanwhile, I am loving the blog experience. I enjoy your thoughts about writing very much!

  7. Very inspirational my friend. Thanks. Unfortunately, I failed in my June goal of completing my ongoing manuscript. But here’s to hoping I can tackle what I need to do before end of July. Cheers for a great summer! Happy 4th of July!

  8. Nice post! To me the most inspiring season is winter! I love dark Gothic weather! But then it’s all relative! In Japan the scariest season is Summer! Mmm that would be an excuse to travel!

  9. I’ve never thought that I might have a best month or time of year for writing, but now that this column has me thinking about it, I always seem to do well in March – I’ve completed quite a few novel length drafts in this month, just as Spring is beginning. In April that means I often start sometime new and feel excited. Now that I think about it even more, the stuff I finish in March is usually started in August/September before. I guess I’m almost writing according to the English school year, except that in the summer term I’m usually not writing so much as finalising.

    That’s what I’ve done this year: my goal was to finish a final draft of my first published novel and then get it self-published as an ebook, and I’ve done it. My July goal was to get going on the second book in the series, and I’ve done 4k on it today already. Perhaps June/July are really my best months.

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