Thursday’s Post-Publication Post: One Writer’s Summer To-Do List

North of the equator, we’ve just begun summer. Although I’m still going to be working 40 hours a week in my day job, still running the usual errands, still partaking in the same family responsibilities (and joys), I’m also hoping to accomplish certain writing-related goals before we merge into fall.

After all, for six weeks this summer, my 40 hours at the office will be recalibrated: heavier on Mondays-Thursdays with “summer Fridays” off. I hope to use those Fridays wisely. And I hope that I can use the general light and energy of the summer to help infuse some projects under way and others that I hope to start.

Herewith, items on my list of writerly hopes, plans, ambitions, and commitments for the season.


  • Continue promotion for Quiet Americans; track progress of new (non-Kindle) versions; calculate and send Q2 contribution to The Blue Card.
  • Complete work on new short story and figure out if it may be a novel chapter; begin new story/novel chapter.
  • Write at least one new poem; revise existing poem drafts.
  • Draft Israel-related essay.
  • Check where submissions are outstanding; follow up if appropriate; send out new submissions.
  • Research/apply for short-term residencies for winter-spring 2012.


  • Practice and deliver presentation for Manhattanville Writers Week session on “Social Media Strategies for Writers”.
  • Research and write article due to The Writer on August 1.
  • Prepare Q&A re: The Borrower, by Rebecca Makkai.
  • Prepare Q&A re: Rethinking Creative Writing, by Stephanie Vanderslice.
  • Prepare Q&A re: The Little Bride, by Anna Solomon.
  • Peruse fall/winter catalogs for possible titles to review and monitor reviews-in-progress (track ARCs, read, write, etc.).
  • Prepare and distribute July/August/September issues of The Practicing Writer.
  • Consider if I want/need to seek additional fall/winter assignments.


  • Research and purchase new computer.
  • Have “writing dates” with friends.
  • Make (and keep) annual appointments with ophthalmologist and optometrist. (Considering how much time I spend squinting into screens, taking care of my eyes seems more and more important.)
  • Get apartment windows washed (and other household tasks). (It’s nice to have a clear view once those eyes are checked.)
  • Read, read, read.
  • Catch up on movies/go to museums/attend concerts & readings. Art feeds off other art! (And I live in New York City, for crying out loud! I’m practically tripping over all of these opportunities!)
  • Get to the gym or go for a jog 2-3 times a week. (Sure, more would be nice, but let’s be realistic here, given my schedule and my usual response to heat and humidity.)  Exercise energizes the body and helps clear and focus the mind.

And what about you? Have any of you made summer writing to-do lists? Care to share what’s on them?

10 thoughts on “Thursday’s Post-Publication Post: One Writer’s Summer To-Do List

  1. Kizzy says:

    -Finish writing essays and short stories in progress.
    -Submit other (completed) essays and stories to new markets.
    -Continue to write blog posts and build blog followers.
    -Research grants, fellowships and Ph.D. programs.

  2. Barbara says:

    My to-do list: Participate in Prague Summer Program. Workshop adult historical novel. Soak up milieu. Gain inspiration from my surroundings, including faculty readings. Participate in photography side trip. Revise short story. Revise YA historical novel. Post Highlights Foundation Writing Jewish-themed Children’s Books to The Whole Megillah. Post videos of authors from Association of Jewish Libraries convention. Decide whether to continue with the Biggest Loser food delivery plan when back from Prague. Participate in Amherst Writers & Artists sessions. Read/evaluate Sydney Taylor Book Award submissions. Follow up on potential teaching gigs at area colleges/universities.

  3. Rebecca H. says:

    – Finish last round of revisions on novel, according to beta reader feedback
    – Begin working on query letter
    – Work up courage to send query
    – Work on budget for nonfiction project and develop research plan
    – And after reading this post, make a long-postponed appointment with optometrist!

  4. Erika Dreifus says:

    These are such great responses! Please keep them coming. Wonderful to see the various plans and projects.

    (Rebecca, your last item made me laugh!)

  5. Seek contacts and research for big William Faulkner article due Spring 2012.

    Begin article about history of coffee – read books ordered from library for research. Drink a lot of coffee for “research purposes”

    Start thinking about Christmas/winter writing themes – jot ideas in notebook.

    Buy more and more notebooks and fill ’em with ideas!

    Approach literary magazines to suggest personal column now bookdealer has closed down.

    Join online writing communities.

    Make most of 5 day trip without family to remote Norfolk to write, write, and write some more!

    Make most of charity trip to Romania in August to highlight potential story ideas for magazines.

    Keep desk tidy. Harder than it sounds!

    Buy good second hand dictionary and thesaurus to keep at friend’s office where I often write on Friday’s – these things can be pretty heavy to carry around from home to Crowborough!

    Join local business group to network for possible work/new opportunities.

    Attend local Writers’ Club when can. Have a go at writing play/short story for local theatre/magazines.

    Possible temp weekend summer outdoor job? Check local papers. Believe me after sitting in front of a computer screen all day, the last thing I want is a temp “office job”!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Great list, Stephen. Sounds as though you have a busy summer planned. With some excellent travel!

  6. Jaye says:

    Set up website/blog for my local writers’ group.
    Format chapbook of completed poetry. Not sure if ready to finish it, yet.
    Keep writing poetry.
    Research for historical feature article about river.
    Set up a personal website/blog for me.
    Keep writing on mystery novel.
    Complete short story and submit it.
    Enter several favorite contests.
    Keep working on organizing my office. (Stephen is correct. It is hard.)

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Yes, organizing is a challenge! You have a great list here, Jaye. Good luck with it.

  7. Summer To Do List
    (1) Write four blog posts a week from 7/11/2011 onward
    (2) Research and review list of publications for publishing opportunities by 8/2/2011
    (3) Complete first draft of book by 9/1/2011
    (4) Set up four Q&A interviews for blog by 10/1/2011

    Thanks, Erika, for getting this going! Helps to hold us all accountable. Are you planning to revisit this in any way so we can check on one another’s progress?

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Funny that you ask, Kathy! I’m thinking about that right now. Stay tuned! And good luck w/your list. What kind of publishing opps are you looking for, by the way?

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