You are currently viewing At the End of Summer

At the End of Summer

Of all the writing advice, the most difficult to do, the scariest thing to try: leave the phone behind.

When it comes to creativity, you probably already employee all these creativity hacks:

  • Show up every day to write, at roughly the same time, because the Muse keeps appointments.    
  • Protect your writing time and treat it like a job.  
  • Jettison negative people from your life.  If you belong to a club or have a group of friends who are killing your creativity, you leave.  Have you left yet?  Of course, you have.
  • Take up an alternative hobby, if you write, play music.  If you play music, dance.  If you dance, keep a journal.
  • Sign up for a community college extension class in the theory and uses of Greek pottery.
  • Break down your goals into manageable chunks of time and effort 
  • Keep a journal.
  • Deep study a new subject.
  • Read deeply.
  • Sleep well.

But what about the phone?

We need our phones.  There are friends to check on, FOMO to nurture, puppies to capture, kitten to share.

Add to your writing hack list:  leave the phone behind.

Yuba river

I left my phone behind on one of our last summer mornings.  

My husband and I climbed into the truck and bounced down a very long one-way dirt road to Purdon’s Crossing, part of the Yuba River. 

 We hiked down to the water’s edge and spent the morning on hot rocks, in cool water, under green pines, next to a dog with a horrible high yipping bark that kept up for an hour and a half.  

First: no one missed me.

Second: it was like getting time back. 

It was a perfect summer day with no filters, no photo ops.   He drove, I gazed out the window.  We talked. I relished the wind in my face and messy hair because at the river, no one cares.  I was in no danger of submitting to a casual photograph. Not once did I need to suck in my stomach.   

 I had time to concentrate on the light, the sounds.  I focused on climbing down a face of rocks to the water’s edge then took my time strategizing how to ascend those same rocks without tipping backward and killing myself. It was not climbing the face of Half Dome, but for me, it was challenging enough.

What I gained was a 1,000 more words for my book project.  A 1,000 words that often take hours to squeeze out of my brain, suddenly presented themselves Sunday afternoon. 

 I wasted an entire morning not only without the phone but without an agenda or even a goal.  I thought I was doing absolutely nothing. 

Turned out it was time well spent.

 Get a jump on your own writing hacks, take a class!

Enrollment closes September 30 –


Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach and author. She has published over 300 newspaper and magazine articles in publications like Modern Maturity (AARP), SF Chronicle and Santa Rosa Magazine. She was a contributor to two Chicken Soup Books and has published anthologies of her work, non-fiction works and novels. Her work has also appeared in a number of poetry and fiction anthologies. She has experimented with the self-publishing world since 2001. She has published and self-published seven books through companies like Author House, author assist companies like 3L Publishing and through traditional publishers like Write Life. Her poetry collection, Ammonia Sunrise, will be released in August 2011 by Finishing Line Press and her mystery novel, In Good Faith will be released by Write Life in 2011. Catharine holds a BA in English from UCSB and a MA in English from Sonoma State University. She is a 25 year member of California Writer’s Club. She is an adjunct professor for the University of Phoenix. She works with authors of both fiction and non-fiction to make their dream of producing a book come true. For more information on that, visit her at Catharine has lived in Sonoma County for 25 years and considers wine a food group. She is married to an adorable and very patient man who complains he’s never featured in any of her books. Her grown children who are featured in a few of her books have fled the county.

Leave a Reply