August 1

Birthdays: Herman Melville (1819), Amy Friedman (1952), Madison Smartt Bell (1957)

Tip: This is national eye exam month. A writer’s eyes are almost as important as his imagination. When was the last time you had a good eye exam? If you can’t remember, schedule one.

Thought for the day: “It’s easy to lose the energy that you need for a long piece unless the characters are surprising you and showing you something new every week, or even every month, or every other paragraph – however often it comes.” – Anne McDermott

Jumpstart: August is the only month without any sort of recognized holiday. You have been tasked with creating one. What or who will it honor? Why? Will it be national or international? Will workers get the day off?