Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Give Your Writing a Summer Reboot

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

I don’t know about you, but I did not write a great masterpiece during the first 90 days of pandemic quarantine.

Everyone is different. For some of you, long periods of enforced time at home was an opportunity to finally pound out that novel that’s been marinating for years. For others, the “perfect storm” of fragile health, dwindling finances, and needy family all tossed together into one small space greatly taxed your creative productivity. 

You know what? Whether you are one or the other doesn’t really matter. We have survived Spring 2020 and are now heading into Summer 2020, with hope in our hearts and a renewed vigor to adapt to whatever changes have occurred.

I personally need a serious writing and speaking reboot. And if you could use a boost as well, why not try one of these simple ideas?

7 Ways to Give Your Writing a Summer Reboot

1. Give yourself GRACE.
We can’t go back. If we did, we might handle March – June differently, knowing what we know now, but perhaps not. So, give yourself some grace about all that was neglected or those mistakes you made. It’s a new season – move forward.

2. Set realistic GOALS.
As you begin to reboot your writing (and speaking) life, start small. Decide you will blog regularly instead of sporadically. Contribute a devotional to that online group you heard about at the writing conference last year. Brainstorm the outline for a new book, new retreat series, or a new practical and helpful workshop topic.

Over these months you have probably made some new online friends through webinars or zoom meetings. There are many people out there doing exciting things and quite a few conferences and teaching sessions are being offered online for free. Check back in with that contact and move forward by learning from them, then perhaps offering your own skills.

4. Learn something NEW.
As the entire world has moved online (at least for now) we must keep up with it! So, take a tutorial and learn how to produce your own podcast, navigate Facebook Live, or record a zoom teaching for an event. You will have much more to offer in the days ahead.

5. Keep WRITING.
Keep writing down your thoughts, prayers, concerns, questions, and ideas in your journal. Of course, you keep a journal – or at least an idea book. If not, start one. This will provide great prompts for your next writing project. There has been much happening (within and without) in recent days, and you will want the wisdom from God to speak truth and grace into our world. 

6. Rewrite and ADAPT.
Yes, you can take musings (even social media posts) and develop them into a devotional or a meditation, an opinion column, or teaching workshop. What you have learned from quarantine parenting can be used to encourage others in the days ahead. It’s all about rewriting and presentation along a theme. Then your words can be adapted for whatever medium you might choose in the future.

7. PRAY.
Of course, this one essential practice of prayer has not changed; in fact, many tell me they have prayed more during the past three months than ever before. Now we must begin to add to our prayers the request for wisdom, discernment, and a teachable spirit as God will lead you and me into new paths for our writing and speaking ministries. As always, end each pray with “Your will be done.” 

I admit that a souvenir from Spring 2020 has been that my weariness has flirted with laziness. But I refuse to stay there! It’s June and I plan to reboot my writing. Will you join me? 

Let me know which of these seven steps you are taking towards the future…


Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping you Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 15 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her award-winning books include LIFE-GIVING CHOICESSOUL STRONG (2020), DWELLING PLACES (2017 Christian Retailing BEST Award for Devotional)ORDINARY GRACES  (2018 Selah Finalist), LIVE THESE WORDS, and Refresh! Lucinda, a member of the REDBUD WRITERS GUILD, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs for The Write Conversation, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Blog and (in)courage. Whether co-directing  “RENEW ~ RETREAT FOR NEW ENGLAND WRITING,”  pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Lucinda’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things.  Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at https://lucindasecrestmcdowell.com/ Follow Lucinda on Twitter: @LUCINDASMCDOWEL


  1. Lucinda,

    Thank you for these valuable insights to reboot our writing life. Giving ourselves grace (#1), learn something new (#4) and to keep writing (#5) resonated with me--and something I an attempting to practice in my own life every day.

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

  2. With kids still at home, this spring has been like an early start to one long summer - my least productive months. Lol
    However, your reminders of grace, realistic goals, adapt, & pray are good ones to revisit as we come out of quarantine, take a deep breath and see where we are now.
    Thank you. :)

    1. Yes! So glad this was encouraging to you. Let's all breathe deeply...

  3. Great tips for a reboot anytime. Great message. Thank you Lucinda.

    1. Thank you, Melissa. May you enjoy many new things in the days ahead...