What can you write in 90 days?
There are many exciting things to do in the summer, but if you aspire to become an excellent writer—writing needs to be on your list. Writing takes practice, but if you love what you’re doing, you will keep doing it and push yourself to go further. One of the best ways to begin and continue writing is to focus on a summer writing project.
In the summer, you have 90 days to complete a writing project or even a few writing projects. There are several fun types of writing activities you can do. The important thing is to select something that intrigues you—something absorbing and exciting.
Today, I’m sharing 7 things you can write this summer (or any season) so that you can select the perfect project for your personality and style.
7 Summer Writing Projects
#1 Write Your Family History
Do you love history? Would you like to find out who your ancestors were and what they did? If you like digging into mysteries, figuring out how people lived and discovering photos, records, personal letters, writing your family history is perfect for you.
You can take road trips to historical sites, cemeteries, museums, and libraries. If you are stuck indoors, there are many genealogy resources and records you can find online without leaving home.
Here are some fantastic free genealogy resources:
- Family Search https://www.familysearch.org/. Family Search is a site where you can find birth, marriage, and death certificates, census forms, probate records, photos, cemetery records, etc.
- Chronicling America https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ Chronicling America is part of the Library of Congress. It has digitized American newspaper articles from 1789—1963.
- Find a Grave https://www.findagrave.com/ Find a Grave is an online website that has cemetery records and grave photos from all over the world, so you can see where your ancestors are buried.
When writing your family history, keep your research organized, and focus on one part of your family tree at a time. As you write, add your footnotes and citations. I included photos and scanned images as much as I could so that my family could get a sense of who their ancestors were.
The beautiful thing about writing a family history is that you create something you can pass down to others.
#2 Start a Blog
Blogging is ideal for anyone who wants to share something they love with the world. You can create a personal blog about your life, a blog with your creative writing, or start a blog in a niche you enjoy.
There are free website platforms you can use to start a blog, like WordPress.com, Wix.com, or Blogger. These are shared hosting sites, so you don’t “own” what you write. Self-hosted platforms cost money, but you “own” your writing. No one else can remove your work.
There are also ways to make money through your blogging: affiliate marketing, creating products you can sell, etc.
#3 Write a Novel
If you have a story idea or love fiction, write a novel (and yes, you could write in one 90 days). There are several books to help you create a plot, develop characters, create suspense, write scenes, etc. Writing workshops, classes, and coaches can support you and give you feedback on your writing.
If you want help reaching a deadline, there are numerous books about how to write a novel in 30, 60, 90 days, etc. You can thank National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for that trend of books.
#4 Enter Writing Contests (In the Genre of Your Choice)
One of my students loves competing in writing contests. It gives her the chance to win something and have her work published. There are writing contests in every genre: plays, poetry, essays, short stories, nonfiction.
To find writing competitions, search for “writing contests” plus the type of genre that interests you: “poetry writing contests.” I also encourage you to check out Writer’s Digests competitions at https://www.writersdigest.com/writers-digest-competitions
Some essay contests are for scholarship money. If you’re a high school student, writing contests will you distinguish you from other college applicants.
A benefit of writing contests is that you get feedback on your work, even if you don’t win or get published you learn something about how to write better.
#5 Write a Nonfiction Book
Do you know a subject thoroughly and want to share that information about it? Writing a nonfiction book gives you a chance to dive into a topic, research it, and enlighten people about it.
There are several books and courses about how to write a nonfiction book. Amazon has a large selection of books about writing nonfiction. Look for books with several good reviews. There are many nonfiction books that have no reviews, or bad reviews. Make sure the books you read are well-written.
I also recommend reading a lot of nonfiction writing. Analyze what an author does well so that you can learn different writing styles and techniques. Also, look at how these books are organized.
#6 Write Poetry
If you love poetry, summer break is an ideal time to dive into studying, writing, and learning about poetry. There are many online poetry courses you can take. Also, look for local poetry groups you can join. I recommend opportunities where you read and write poetry. Study other poets and notice the techniques they use in their poems.
Writing poetry seems easy on the surface, but when you analyze different types of poems you realize that’s not quite true. For example, writing a haiku seems simple if you follow the syllable account, but there is far more to haiku. You have to capture the “in-the-moment” quality of a haiku poem. If Haiku interests you, read and study Haikuists as you write.
The same thing applies to other forms of poetry. Learn more about poets and see their poems at https://poets.org/.
#7 Write your Memoir or a Collection of Personal Narratives
Sometimes what inspires us the most is an experience we lived. Memoirs and personal narratives can be emotional– a way of releasing our feelings and ideas. If you decide to publish personal narratives, you can reach out and connect others to your experience.
In college, I wrote and published a personal narrative describing a time I was sexually assaulted. At first, I wrote the narrative to express what happened and how that experience impacted me and how I survived. Later, I published that personal narrative in my college’s literary magazine.
I was petrified to do it, but once people read my personal narrative other survivors bonded with me, and other individuals become more aware of the effects of rape and sexual assault.
Memoirs and personal narratives are powerful and they are one of my favorite things to teach. Two of my students are working on their personal narratives, and they love sharing their stories.
Final Tips for Summer Writing Projects
It can be hard to stick with a writing project (even for people who write all the time). Whatever you decide to write, make it something that motivates you, excites you, and makes you eager to do it. After that set yourself up for success with these tips to keep you on track.
- Create a deadline and set up a writing schedule. Check out my blog post, “How to Create an Easy and Effective Writing Schedule” to see how to make a writing schedule. https://www.academicwritingsuccess.com/how-to-create-an-easy-and-effective-writing-schedule-and-stick-to-it/.
- Publicize what you are doing. Tell family and friends about your writing project and your goal.
- Work with a writing coach who can help you write your project and advance your writing skills.
- Create a tracker, checklist, or chart to measure your progress.
- Reward yourself each time you reach a goal.
- Don’t give up! Start and finish your summer writing project.
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