creative writing

5 ways to woo your literary muse this summer

Here’s to the sweet sights, sounds, and smells of summer — and a happy balance of relaxed and productive days ahead!

These tips can help you maintain momentum with your writing practice over the next few months.

1. Take a self-paced journey to a more mindful, artful writing practice

The Story Course, designed by fiction writer Sarah Selecky, is perfectly suited for busy writers (and summer learners!) who want to deepen their skills at their own pace.

More of an online writing retreat than your standard e-course, this program was lovingly created to help writers build a more joyful, sustainable and productive writing practice.

I signed up for Sarah’s online course in February 2015 after falling hard for her short story collection This Cake Is For The Party, and highly recommend her methods for generating creative new work in any genre.

The best part about The Story Course? You can travel light and learn anywhere, anytime.

2. Read a handful of highly recommended books

The CBC Book’s 2017 Summer Reading List was announced a few weeks ago and include 21 intriguing titles.

Susan Juby’s “The Fashion Committee”, Jordan Abel’s “Injun” and Roxane Gay’s “Hunger” are on my list. What’s on yours?

3. Fine tune works in progress with the help of a mentor

It’s an exciting feeling to draft new work, but all too easy to get stalled out in the revision process.

Working one on one with a mentor was one of the best decisions I made to finish works in progress, get them out the door, and in the hands of literary journals and contest judges.

If you’re interested in working with a mentor this summer, my own trusted mentor, the brilliant poet and novelist, Laisha Rosnau, is available for manuscript evaluation and writerly support.

Learn more about working one on one with Laisha via her brand new website.

4. Get in front of an audience

Reading your work in public can help you gain confidence as a public speaker, connect with other writers and discover the people who most connect with your work.

If you live in Greater Vancouver, the SFU Writer’s Studio regularly puts out calls for readers as does the SFU Southbank Reading Series.

I’ve met some wonderful writers who became friends — like Isaac Yuen, whom I interviewed for my CNF Outliers ecourse — through SFU’s Creative Writing Program readings.

Look into opportunities to read at local open mic events, literary cabarets, and reading series in your area this summer.

5. Take in a literary festival

Although many of Canada’s most well-regarded literary festivals happen in the fall, a number also take place in July and August.

I’ve listed a few upcoming festivals below, but you’ll find a full listing on the Writers’ Union of Canada website.

Elephant Mountain Literary Festival
Nelson, BC
July 7-10

Read By the Sea Literary Festival
River John,NS
July 8

Dead Poets Reading Series
Vancouver, BC
July 9

Denman Island Writer’s Festival
Denman Island, BC
July 13-16

Festival of Words
Moose Jaw, SK
July 14-17

Lakefield Literary Festival
Lakefield, ON
July 14-16

When Words Collide
Calgary, AB
August 11-13

Writers at Woody Point
Bonne Bay, NL
August 15-20

Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts
Sechelt, BC
August 17-20



Interested in exploring your personal loss stories and grief narratives? Email me about being a beta reader for my next ecourse.

I’ll be selecting three to five writers to read the course materials and provide feedback on the value and usefulness of 8 lessons, pre-writing exercises, and assignments.

Selected beta readers will have the opportunity to submit their own written assignments for feedback, essentially taking the course for free.

I’m hoping to share the course with beta readers in early August with feedback presented to me by month’s end. If you’re interested in this opportunity, please get in touch with me ASAP at nicole@nicolebreit.com.

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