Network News: In the Summer-time

By Gill James
School will soon be out. Families will be going away on holiday. It may get too hot to move and you may not want to be indoors for any length of time. For some this may be a time when you get more writing done and for others it will be a time when there is frankly no chance: the children need entertaining and attendance at any network meetings may be a little thin. Even the online interaction will probably slow down.
But do we have to give up that connection completely? Here are a few ideas...

Themed Gathering 

Do you have a work in progress or a published book with a theme that belongs to the summer? My own book, Kiters, has a place on Formby Sands – not too far from where I live. Why don’t I invite local SCBWIs and their children for a kite-flying session on the beach? At some point we’re bound to get talking about how I wrote the book. Yet at the same time the kids will be having fun.

Network Picnic 

We might normally want to keep areas of our life separate – family and writing may not mix. But why not meet socially just for once? After all, many of the places where we work offer Family Fun Days. So why shouldn’t a bunch of writers? Organise a pot-luck lunch or barbecue. Think of a few games. Chances are whilst the children are having fun you get a chance to talk “shop”. Just like the firm’s Family Fun Day, after all.

End of Term Celebration 

Why not meet up in that last week before the holidays to take stock of the year and look forward to the next one? Many children’s writers probably run an academic year – if we write for children our routines are often governed by the school calendar. Make this a social evening – perhaps summarise what you’ve achieved over the last year and what your ambitions are for the following year. Maybe members could read from their published works or their works in progress.

Virtual Postcard 

Don’t forget your network group when you send the postcards. Maybe send them a virtual one. But this time don’t say how good the weather is or what the hotel is like. Whether the family holiday is a time when you get some writing done or another one where there is no chance you will most likely get hit by ideas because you are out of your normal routine. Share that experience with your group – you don’t need to give the exact details of the idea if you’d rather not. Something along the lines of “The caves here are fantastic and I’ve now got a fab idea for a new middle-grade novel.”

Over to you...

  • What's your network up to over the summer?
  • Or, in the past, have you done something special in the summer months?

Gill James writes novels for children and young adults. Here first novel, Jason's Crystal, was inspired by the fabulous caves at Nerja  You can contact her with your network news at 


  1. Gill these are great ideas- you are doing such a service to SCBWI members.
    Thank you.
    Our 'virtual' meeting places are brilliant but nothing beats meeting up in the real world to make members feel connected.

  2. Thanks from me too, Gill. I'm finding your posts very useful.In the north east we're having a break during August and then having a meeting in Sept to plan some very exciting events for next year. I'm finding it harder to write in the sunshine because I don't often work on paper and can't see the screen on my little laptop in the sun. And i really want to be in the sun!


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