My Summer Checklist Update

summerchecklistpic Toward the end of May, I wrote a blog post entitled Summer Checklist for Readers, Writers & Creative People. Let's see how well I did this summer. My comments are italicized after the em dash.

Read something different. We all know that you’ve read Jane Eyre a dozen times. Give it up already and pick up FrankensteinMisery, or The Great Gatsby. Expand yo’ mind. —I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It resonated with me more than any other book this year.

Choose one new thing to learn this summer. I am as terrible at geography as Napoleon Bonaparte was terrible at being tall. My solution? This summer I’m using the Learn World Geography app to teach me something I didn’t know. Something I didn’t know: I have problems pronouncing most of Africa’s countries. See? I’m already learning. —I aced all of my geography tests this summer, thank you. That's right. I know where stuff is now.

Relearn something. I took Italian in high school and went over it again in 2011 for my Italy trip. I’m worried I’m forgetting it again, so I’m going over it again this summer. Repetition is the key to learning. —Still continuing this, and doing molto bene.

Read a self-help/how-to book. I’m a huge fan of self-help books because they’re just so…helpful. Whether it’s a book to help you with your writing, your diet, or training your wiener dog, read something that will help you meet a goal. On my list for this category: The Freelancer’s Bible, 301 Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Your Marketing, and Auto Repair for Dummies. Reading the second mentioned book now. I finished the first one a month ago. I still need to read the last one, though.

Write a story. I don’t care if it’s a 10,000-word wonder or a 100-word paragraph. Write a story. Write your story. Write a story about that one character you’ve had in your mind for months. Write a story about a fashion guru who had to wear Goodwill clothes for a year. Write a story about the goldfish who remembered everything. Just sit down and write. You’ll be shocked at how wonderful you feel. —I'm currently writing a story about Playa del Carmen.

Accomplish one creative project. For me, I’m taking all of my Florida pictures from Instagram and creating a collage with sand dollars. That’s adorable, and you know it. Get that project done and post some pictures so I can ooh and aww all over it. —I haven't done the Instagram photos yet. I did, however, put all of my seashells in a huge vase. It's way too cute.

Save up for just one thing. I’m always saving up for something extravagant. This year’s is kind of a secret, but I’ll share it with you soon. Whether you start a savings account or keep all that loose change in a jar in the back of your closet, just save up for something. Save up for a mini vacation, a puppy, or a Dollar Tree spree. Just make it happen. —Still a secret, but I've saved up over $3,000 so far. Hooray!

Write three letters to people who need them. Thanks to emails, Facebook, and Twitter, letter writing is as popular as leg day at the gym. Receiving a handwritten letter in the mail is the coolest thing in the world. Send out three throughout the summer to people who truly need encouragement. Get fancy too. Bring out that fountain pen and that crazy wax stuff and seal your family emblem on there. Don’t have an emblem? Get one! —I bought three handmade cards from a friend and sent them out to some friends who needed them. It was fun, and I want to keep this up.

Shut up. Yeah, I said it. Take a break from posting on all things social media. This includes emailing and Internet-ing. Clear your mind and resist the urge to update every five seconds. Even if it’s for just one day. Enjoy one technology-free day. Believe me, I know it’s hard, because those LOL cats won’t post themselves, but you can do it. I believe in you. In fact, this is the perfect time to read. —Ohhhh. I need to do this one still.

Finally, kick everyone out of the house. Even the dog. When is the perfect time to do this? When you walk in the living room and er’rbody is glued to the TV/iPad/iPhone/PS3/XBOX when it’s beautiful outside. Kick them all out and go somewhere wonderful and fun and bright. Oh! Have a picnic! —I did this for my nephew's birthday. We went to Arcadia, Oklahoma, and ate at Pop's on Route 66 and drove around Lake Arcadia.

So did you do any of these things?