Ice Cream and Icicles: Working Outside (the Box)

Here in Colorado, it’s finally getting warmer, which means it’s time to get outside. The fact that it’s May doesn’t rule out the chance of a freak snow storm (gotta love the mountains!), but the tradition is that you can plant your warm weather flowers and vegetables right after Mother’s Day. The sunshine is a great motivator to enjoy some time outside.

I often try to work outside when I can. My (night) job has me writing news summaries and sleeping late, so my day starts around 10:30 or 11. When it’s warm enough, I sit on the deck, doing my beginning of the day journaling and planning while I drink some coffee. Laptops make it easier to get outside and do some writing. The joys of working at home are pretty obvious in the late spring/early summer.


Chasing down stories can be easier in the spring and summer too. There are often festivals or events happening over the summer that you can preview for travel magazines or other outlets. That summer vacation or road trip makes a great personal essay. It’s also the time to work on evergreen articles for back-to-school (pitch early summer), Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Since publications work three to six months ahead, now’s the time to pitch those cool weather articles and essays.

Motivating yourself to think about Christmas in May takes a bit of mind twisting. Even if you’ve got some great hygge [pronounced hyoo-ga] tips, it’s not easy to focus on warming up by a cozy fire under a blanket with a book while wearing your Fair Isle sweater while your daffodils are blooming around you. Sitting by a campfire at night might help put you in the mood.


Spring is a time of rebirth. While taking our characters on their journey through the course of a novel, think about what type of revelation of rebirth you want them to have. All characters (especially main characters) grow as the story progresses. While you’re surrounded by new spring flowers and longer days, consider how your main characters change on their journey.

So while you’ve got your sunglasses on and are planting your vegetable gardens and annuals, keep your eyes open for experiences that could make a good story or advance your characters’ growth, thinking cool thoughts of future topics while chilling out.

Speaking of chilling out, try this 20 oz aluminum water bottle from Earthlust for a stylish, high quality source of hydration.

I’m a journal fan, and Erin Condren has some great spring styles to jot down those ideas, thoughts, and essays while you’re in an environment that’s not electronics friendly.

As soon as the sun starts warming my un-booted toes, I start thinking about summer reading. If you’re looking for a great spring/summer read,Good Housekeeping has a great reading list, as does Publishers Weekly. I’ve been reading voraciously, so look for some updated reviews on the site soon.

Have a backlog of unread books on your shelves? Consider using the Book Buddy app (available on iPhone and Android) to catalog your library and keep track of how many unread books you have available. Check out the #unreadshelfproject2019 on Instagram to see what others are tackling on their TBR shelves.

And always remember: If you’re writing without a space, make room for new ideas.

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