Monday, July 1, 2019

Summer Fun, Writing Fodder

by Ralene Burke @RaleneB

Ah, summer is finally here. The sun is shining, the trees are green…and it's hot, too hot. Okay, I'm not the biggest fan of summer, but traditionally there are a few perks to the season. Summer is a time for swimming, vacations, and lots of reading, right? It's also a time to start building our writing fodder!

Writing fodder is our breadth of experience and knowledge from which we draw upon when we write, no matter what genre that is. Everything from unique events to specific conversations to the books and media we consume contribute to the writing fodder. 

Often times, as writers, we're so focused on churning out our stories, we forget that we need to fill that creative well. Then we face the dreaded writers block, an unfortunate side effect of not "living" enough between words.

So, I thought I'd share a few fun ways to build your bank of writing fodder this summer.

1. Whether your lounging poolside or on the beach, swimming is a great time to people watch! See how families and couples interact. Watch as different people wade into the water or splash headfirst. There are so many different activities, so many happy faces… We can garner a host of descriptions and interesting insights into people. 

2. Vacations are a staple of many summers due to the break from school. Maybe it's time to plan a unique and fun trip that involves family…and a little research. Visit different historical landmarks, explore unique architectural marvels, dive into unusual cultures, get up close and personal with nature, or even dream big from the comfort of your own home with a bit of a staycation. Whatever the vacation, tidbits and fun facts are just around the corner to spark ideas! 

3. Sometimes vacations aren't possible. But that's what books are for! Challenge yourself to read this summer. Read outside of your genre. Read nonfiction and biographies. Take a chance on graphic novels or short stories. Read something new or reread an old favorite. Become an expert at a new topic. Get excited again. Analyze good writing (and bad). Decide how you would write something in a different way to make it your own.

4. Rekindle that old romance. If you're married, there's nothing like a little summer heat to make you not want to have anything to do with each other. Ha! But seriously summer is alight with opportunities to get out and try something new with that special someone. When we feel good about ourselves and about our relationships, creativity flows more freely!

5. Speaking of trying something new…summer is a great time to take up a new hobby! To do some research for an upcoming novel, I told my husband I wanted to learn to use the quarterstaff. It would be great exercise for mind and body too! 

6. Join a fandom! What? I couldn't let an entire article go without getting a little geeky. There's something about being part of a community (outside of writers) who share the love of something unusual. And while, when we think of fandoms, we tend to think of sci-fi/fantasy fans, there's plenty of fandoms that are more…normal. 

We may be writers who prefer the worlds and characters in our heads at times, but that doesn't mean we quit living. The world around us can inspire and teach and encourage. The more we learn and experience, the more we have to draw from when we write.

So, now that we're knee-deep in summer, it's time to start building up your own writing fodder. Pick something to try and have some fun. Then take what you learn/experience and add it to your next story! 

What are you looking forward to this summer?


Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone #SHINE Beyond their circumstances! Her novels, Bellanok and Armor of Aletheia, are available on Amazon. More fantasy novels coming soon!

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all-around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . . You can also find her on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or at her website.


  1. I am looking forward to sharing more special moments with 23 months old grandson. He is full of love and laughter and yes, he gives many ideas for stories. :-)

    1. I started as nanny for my 6-month-old nephew this summer, so I know what you mean!