This is a little early, especially as spring has only begun, but who isn’t look forward to the coming break from school? Since this will be my last blog post this semester, I wanted to broach how summer break is a great period of time to work with and on your writing skills. Even if you take summer classes, that only adds to your resources, as you will have access to Marshall’s Libraries’ Databases during whichever summer session you participate in.
Why should you spend your break writing?
Improving your writing ability is something you have to work on often in order to develop your skills. Writing during your break gives you the opportunity to, not only, write exactly what you want to write, but also hone your skills through practice.
What kind of writing should you do?
Whatever kind you want. Research, poetry, analysis, creative nonfiction, close reading, fiction, and many more different genres are at your command. Maybe experiment and work with a genre you have not interacted with before or improve your skills in an area you already know you enjoy. Maybe revise a past paper or expand on an idea that did not make it into the final product for a past class. Take that line that you loved, but had to cut for the sake of your project, and turn it into something new. You could even start researching things you are interested, but have not yet had the time to explore or write about your experiences over the break.
What can writing during your break accomplish?
Writing during your break can lead to new ideas and new appreciations of different forms and contexts. As I learn more about specific things and why they are done the ways they are, I can articulate and write better about them. For example, understanding what enjambment is and what is does within a stanza of poetry helped me utilize this syntax style in my own work to experiment with different options. As I learn and practice new forms of writing, I can write more fluidly and comprehensively. You could practice your sonnet skills, your analytical ability, and your aptitude for researching reliable resources with or without an academic database at your fingertips. There is no limit on what you can learn about or try; just start a Google search or pick up a book that discusses whatever you are interested in.
What if I cannot keep myself on track?
Being able to maintain your own projects is a really useful skill to learn. While it is good to meet deadlines and accomplishes tasks that are put onto you, sometimes you have to monitor yourself and create your own tasks and deadlines. Practicing by making yourself a schedule and sticking to it can help you later on in your life.
You can also create one or more writing groups for yourself. Find people you enjoy engaging with and set up times to meet or chat online. Discuss your projects and help each other out by being another set of eyes or workshopping each other’s piece at designated times. Having a group that you have to hold yourself accountable to can help you maintain your projects, but also assist you in preparing for collaborative work projects you may have to do in the future.
What about my other breaks? What about when I am attending classes?
Any break is a great time to work on your writing outside of class, though writing, especially for yourself, is also important during the months you spend in school. Writing often and writing a lot helps you improve your writing exponentially.