How to practice 'escapist writing' this summer

It's a standard of American culture that we use the summer for both enrichment and escape. On the sour end are high school students who receive a recommended summer reading list. On the sweet side are those opportunities to head for the beach with that trashy mystery or romance novel tucked into our canvas bag next to the sun screen.

If we eliminated summer, John Grisham would go broke.

But wait a minute. If we are allowed and encouraged to indulge in escapist reading, why can't we use the dog days of summer as a time for escapist writing?

Escape from what?

  • Escape from writing from an objective distance to write something personal.
  • Escape from journalism by writing in a new genre, say poetry or fiction.
  • Escape from conventional forms of reporting, by writing a radically different version of a traditional story.

I just looked up the word "escape" and see that it derives from the Latin and means to "get out from under one's cape." That is, to feel the freedom of throwing off your conventional garments to try something new.

If this idea of a "summer writing" plan intrigues you, replay our chat about it:

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    Roy Peter Clark

    Roy Peter Clark has taught writing at Poynter to students of all ages since 1979. He has served the Institute as its first full-time faculty member, dean, vice-president, and senior scholar.


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