Summer Inquiry

Greetings! My name is Jonathan Phin, co-chair of the MFA Marketing committee, and I would like to thank everyone who has visited our blog since its spring debut.

The UCF MFA blog is now interested in what you, the readers, are doing this summer. The summer usually presents us with additional time for activities that we don’t often have time for during busy spring and fall semesters. As you have probably seen, many of our MFA candidates are traveling the country. Some graduates have begun their careers and are writing when they can. I’m taking summer classes, working on an internship, and working full time. While writing is a natural part of a writer’s daily routine, it’s also a big responsibility, no matter the season.

So we want to know:

  1. What are you doing this summer to improve your writing?
  1. What are some distractions that hinder your writing in the summer?
  1. Do you prefer writing in the comfort of your home, at a coffee shop, or a foreign destination?
  1. Compared to the fall or spring, are you more or less productive in the summer?
  1. Are you excited about summer coming to an end or would you prefer an extended summer?

Feel free to respond in the comment section. We look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for your readership and participation!

Best wishes,

Jonathan Phin

UCF Marketing Committee Co-Chair GWA Treasurer

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4 thoughts on “Summer Inquiry

  1. What are you doing this summer to improve your writing?
    The big thing I’m doing is thesis reading and writing. The reading is probably the biggest source of improvement since I’m studying the structure and craft elements present in Victorian novels and comparing those against how steampunk and Neo Victorian writers are currently reusing those elements. From there I’m deciding what I want to take into my own work or how I might twist those traditional elements and blend them with modern sensibilities.

    What are some distractions that hinder your writing in the summer?
    I’ve been on two short road trips that took some time away from reading and writing (though on one we talked about writing a lot!). I’m also spending more time with my nephew while he’s out of school. (I’m not complaining about either of those things.)

    Do you prefer writing in the comfort of your home, at a coffee shop, or a foreign destination?
    Home comfort is my most frequent location for writing, but I write at a coffee shop/restaurant at least once a week. If it’s not quiet, I might block out conversation with a writing soundtrack.

    Compared to the fall or spring, are you more or less productive in the summer?
    So far I’ve been slightly less productive word-count wise, but I front-loaded my summer with trips and errands. I’m expecting July and August to yield pretty high word counts.

    Are you excited about summer coming to an end or would you prefer an extended summer?
    I’m comfortable right now. Ask me again at the end of summer when I haven’t gotten as much done as I planned and I’m sure I’ll have a different answer.

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  2. This summer I’m taking writing classes at UCF, took up writing for Movie pilot and Thought Catalog, will hopefully contribute to UCF’s paper, and I’m interning at a book publishing company!
    Coffee, food, and movies tend to break me out of my writing trance. Or, you know, basically anything that catches my eye.
    I like writing at home with no one around.
    I’m way more productive during the summer, because the spring semester is usually overrun with overtime hours at work.
    Summer ending or beginning doesn’t make much a difference to me. This one has been relaxing, so I’m sure by Fall when I’m working and going to school full time, and topping it off with all my extra curriculars, I’ll wish it was summer again!

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  3. What are you doing this summer to improve your writing?
    A number of different things, actually–the first of them (perhaps surprisingly) being, taking a break. After a really intense Spring semester, it was a huge relief to have the luxury of doing nothing for even a day. After an initial rest period, I ushered in a period of true-blue leisure reading–which for me meant fantasy novels, and in particular, an awful lot of Terry Pratchett. Writing is my love in life, but also my work in life . . . so after a semester of a lot of intensive literary activity, it was invigorating to have the time to pick pure fun reads. With that period out of the way, I’ve been casually workshopping and sharing with close friends, and trying to take time out to practice, reflect, revise (and contemplate publication).

    What are some distractions that hinder your writing in the summer?
    Work! I’m only a part time library-assistant, but that busyness in my schedule is enough to break up my time . . . when you add in family, friends, over-sleeping, gratuitous lazing, vacations, and my obsessive cooking habit . . . there’s a lot to contend with, even without a full courseload.

    Do you prefer writing in the comfort of your home, at a coffee shop, or a foreign destination?
    All of the above, at different times, but usually mostly the latter two. I’m really excited to be visiting Europe next month, and can’t wait to see what writing I get from that experience. While I’m in town, I find that I actually do a strange amount of writing (especially of jottings, single lines, and drafts) while I’m in the car, or sometimes shopping for groceries. For extended “real” writing sessions though, coffee houses, views of the beach, and strange places are my favorites.

    Compared to the fall or spring, are you more or less productive in the summer?
    For me it’s really just a very different mode of being, with different priorities . . .but I think all in all, it’s safe to say I’m considerably less productive, almost inevitably. During Fall and Spring I work, participate in an internship, am a club officer, lead the writing group First Draft, hold up a full course load, and still make time for writing, loved ones, and hobbies. During summer, many of those responsibilities either evaporate or diminish. Even with the other stuff I then find time for, I just don’t get as much done. I don’t mind too much–I need the rest!

    Are you excited about summer coming to an end or would you prefer an extended summer?
    A part of me is already dreading how crazy-busy fall is going to be, but another part of me can’t wait to dive in. Like Alli, above, I’m sure the beginning of Fall will see me rue all of the unchecked items on my summer To-Do list. Mostly, I think I’m pretty satisfied this summer.

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  4. What are you doing this summer to improve your writing?

    I’m doing a little bit of traveling, I’m teaching my second summer course (CRW3013), and trying to get back into “reading for fun.” All of these sound like really mundane things, but just keeping myself busy will help my writing take on new perceptions. If I’m doing the same thing every day, then my writing will sound the same in every piece. I just moved, too, so the apartment itself is a new surrounding. It’s the small things that keep my writing fresh.

    What are some distractions that hinder your writing in the summer?

    The same things I listed above that help my writing are the same things that keep me from getting as much writing done as I planned for the summer. After working on my thesis so much during my last semester in the spring, I decided to take a break from poetry, anyway. I’m trying to revise some of my prose now, mostly nonfiction, to possibly send out for publication.

    Do you prefer writing in the comfort of your home, at a coffee shop, or a foreign destination?

    I get a lot of writing done at home in the middle of the night, but sometimes a change of place is good. A coffee shop, the park, sometimes just the back patio is enough change of scenery to give me some of that new perception I need.

    Compared to the fall or spring, are you more or less productive in the summer?

    I’m just as productive in the summer as I am when school’s in session, but with different stuff. Between family, teaching, and personal changes like the move or my two nephews being born, I stay pretty busy. I plan to make up for whatever writing I didn’t get done at the beginning of this summer by holding some hardcore write-a-thons in August before magazines start to reopen their submission periods.

    Are you excited about summer coming to an end or would you prefer an extended summer?

    I love being busy with “life” in the summer rather than just school stuff, but sometimes I miss the calculated schedules of fall and spring. At least then I have deadlines to work toward to keep me writing.

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