What Did We Learn From Our Summer?

what did we learn from our summerFor a novelist some ideas have wings. Others sink like a stone.

As a novelist I frequently come up with ideas that, after closer examination, are discarded in the “What were you thinking?” circular file. Sometimes the idea might be good for someone more equipped to tackle that subject or setting. Sometimes it might be good if I made such significant changes that the end result wasn’t even vaguely related to the initial idea.

And some ideas are just best buried six feet under the ground.

Blog ideas are similar. This morning as I was preparing to bury an idea as too much work, I realized I liked it too much to say goodbye. It’s an idea that has wings, but only if you and I put our heads together. Because it starts with a question.

What did we learn from our summer?

Do you often take stock of your life? Or are you too busy just living it to give what’s happening much thought? I often fall into that last category. But when I do take the time to reconsider what I’ve done, or consider what I’m about to do, it’s enormously helpful.

So today I want to list a few things I learned this summer. And if you feel called to do so, why not think about your own and share them with us.

Did you learn something about yourself? Something about somebody you love? Something about the way you see the world? About your health, your beliefs, your actions? How about mistakes you made, or challenges you missed out on, or triumphs you’re proud of?

See how it’s done?

So with that in mind, here’s my list, and it was surprisingly easy to compile.

  • I learned that eating five+ servings of vegetables and fruits a day and avoiding processed food is a much easier way to be healthy than following a diet. By the time I finish all those veggies, I don’t have room for junk.
  • I learned that taking time away from writing pays dividends, but not in the ways I expected. I didn’t do most of the non-writing things I’d expected to. Instead I just gave in to being tired, kind of like the pug above. Do I regret this? No. Because when it was time to get back to work, I was ready. Takeaway? Time off is not time wasted.
  • I learned how much I’d missed reading fiction just for fun and how important it is to read what you enjoy.
  • I also learned that reading non-fiction, not only for research but to learn new things, is energizing.
  • I learned how much I like hiking, and how much nicer it is to travel light.
  • I remembered how much I love desert, in this case, Utah’s.
  • I learned that driving  in a car for more than six hours should be avoided if possible. Exhausting!
  • I learned that I don’t have to sit at a computer to work on a book. Ideas pop up almost anywhere, and plots fall into line when they aren’t prodded and tortured.
  • I learned how much I enjoy podcasts and found several to subscribe to for enjoyment and research.

Enough of that. What seemed like an ordinary, even blah, summer was apparently anything but. Everything I’ve listed has actually changed me. More fruits and veggies is now a habit. Taking more time away from the computer? Check. Reading more and in different areas? Yep. Listening to podcasts? No problem there. Planning another hiking trip? Hopefully.

So what did we learn from our summer? Now it’s your turn. Do you have a few minutes to think about yours? Does anything stand out? Share if you’d like to, and even if you don’t, I hope you find the process helpful and your summer memories good ones. I did.


  1. Nancy Lepri on October 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    I learned that I love my new town and being close to the beach as well as enjoying sitting on my porch with my elderly feline reading great books. Most of all I learned I am blessed to have a wonderful husband, daughter, and friends and that we must enjoy each and every day we’re given.

  2. Laurie I on October 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

    I like your list. I agree with much of what you said, particularly reading what you like, making healthier food choices (although I’m still struggling with that one), reading non-fiction, not driving long distances in a car…ugh. I’m always discovering new things about myself and others. One of the most valuable is to try my best not to judge others. We are ALL imperfect beings, and many have gone through unspeakable challenges in life that we are likely not aware of. Only God can be the judge of anyone.

  3. Joan Leopold on October 21, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I realized that my 3 yr old dog isn’t nearly as mature as I need him to be for successful competition. I thought he was but he painfully explained it all to me in August. I was pushing and he was having none of it. I learned to slow down with him;
    I lived through my first hurricane. That is an experience I could have done without. The pre and post work is exhausting. I have a new empathy for people who must evacuate. A friend lived in Rockport, TX, and lived it before I did. You could write a book about her life. So many ups and downs compared to my life. We met 45 yrs ago when our little girls were newborns in CA and have stayed in touch ever since. I learned that my Grandkids are growing into wonderful people. I love having them here alone with us.

    • Emilie Richards on October 21, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      You really put some thought into this, Joan. An interesting summer, for sure.

  4. nancy reynolds on October 23, 2017 at 11:44 am

    I love your list. For me, I discovered I still do not like HOT weather. But … I will endure the heat, so that I can live in an area where there are 4 distinct seasons. I also learned ways to keep happy and count my blessings. You can never do that enough.

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