Summer Writing

There are a thousand things to love about summer in Portland

Roses! Everywhere!

Free Shakespeare and symphony and opera in the Park

It finally stops raining, it’s never humid, and it always cools off nicely at night

And I get to move into my summer office.

My summer office is a tree house in the big douglas fir in my back yard. There’s a pirate ladder or a rock wall to climb up and a slide or a zip line to get down. It has a roof but no walls so I have an unbroken view and plenty of cool shade. I get lots of visits from squirrels and robins but also humming birds and crows and sparrows and flickers and once in a while a golden crowned kinglet which is a very majestic name for a bird no bigger than a pingpong ball.


But here’s what I really love about the tree house. Because it’s open to the air and animals and birds wander through all the time, I can’t keep anything up there permanently except the folding potting bench I use as a desk and the exercise ball I use for a chair. There’s no food, no electricity, no laundry or kitchen distracting me from my work. And there’s plenty of fresh air and sunshine to keep me energized. I find that I’m almost always inspired to write something entirely new up there and this summer is no exception. I’m going to be spending the first part of the summer on writing a brand new series for younger middle grade readers. I hope to have more news about where they will be available and when by the fall, but in the mean time, I’m loving the daily climb to my office where I can spend the whole day just making things up.

I have another new venture this summer as well I’ll be teaching a course on writing realistic fiction for kids and teens called Vampire-Free Fiction! The course is offered through the Loft Literary center in Minneapolis, but here’s the good part, because it’s summer, you can do the work at your own pace. Take some time off if you have a family trip. Work ahead if you’ve got extra time on your hands. And even better than that, the Loft will offer a full scholarship to one lucky teacher or librarian who wants to take this course. There’s lots more information at the Loft. Classes start next week!

How about you? Do you have a favorite routine for your summer writing? Do you have a goal you want to accomplish in your writing? My short term goal is to finish the chapter book I’m working on by the end of the month. As I write this post I’m on chapter 5. I’ll let you know in the comments how far I got.