Summer Writing Struggles

If you’re anything like me, you have high hopes for writing over the summer. You dream of the stories you’ll scribble on napkins while sipping lemonade on a street corner café. Or maybe you imagine paddling a kayak down current as the villain in your next MG adventure takes shape. Our high hopes for these carefree summer days march before us like a parade…shady trees, outdoor decks, notebooks, pencils, and fabulous story ideas…

But why do we have these high hopes exactly? Do we suddenly have nothing to do in the summer? Does work end? Do kids no longer need us? Does a fairy housekeeper magically appear along with her friends, Gaylord, the live-in chef and Matilda, the grocery shopper/ laundry folder?

I don’t think so. In fact, in my world, the summer is just as busy as the rest of the seasons—just a different kind of busy. Sure our daily schedule is not as full—no school for the kids, no lunches to make, no demanding sports schedules, etc. But instead of the usual school related responsibilities, I have visits from out of town relatives, day trips, graduation parties, and two teenagers at home.

My daughter has a summer job as a camp counselor, which is totally awesome by the way. But still, after 5pm she is all go, go , go—“what can we do tonight?”. Sometimes her adventures include me and sometimes they don’t, but It gets kind of exhausting after a while trying to keep up with her! I have to wonder, did I ever have that much energy? And then I remember being 17. Yup, I definitely did.

My son has yet to hit the 16 year mark so his social life is still limited to summer sports, hanging out with friends all day, and eating every two hours like a newborn. I’m not complaining. I like when kids hang out at our house. But why exactly did I think I would have all this time to write this summer?

I guess the colder months erased my memory of how summer really is around here!

For one thing, I’m working on my second freelance business novel. I love the flexibility of this project (part-time, work-at-home) but I’ve realized that I can’t treat it like I treat my other writing projects. Even though I’d love to work on those in my free moments, they have to take a back seat. I mean a PAID projects for a client has to take the top spot on my to-do list, even if I have to work on it in between college visits, runs to the store for replacement wiffle balls, or those random days at the pool.

So where does that leave my writing projects—my middle grade manuscript, my query letter, this website, and my critique partner’s chapters?

Well, I have to schedule them in–early in the morning, late at night, or someplace in between. I guess my carefree summer days of writing aren’t all that different from my less-than carefree autumn, winter, or spring days of writing!

It’s just so strange. The summer stretches before us with so much extra time. More daylight= more time to do whatever it is we love to do. But somehow it races by and before we blink, it’s the middle of July!

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that writing over the summer may work for some writers. But for me, not so much. After so many months of the worst winter in recent history, I’m okay with letting it take a mini- back seat to everything else, especially if they include the outdoors. I’m okay setting time in the mornings to practice yoga outside on my deck. I’m okay taking long walks with my husband after dinner. I’m okay staying up late with my daughter as she tells me her hopes for her senior year in high school, her dreams for running track in college, and her stories of leading Zumba dance parties for the little girls at camp. Even if the mosquitos are attacking us. I’m okay taking my son on a day trip to an area college even though he’s only fifteen. If he wants to get a head start on the process and spend time with me, how can I refuse?

I wouldn’t trade any of this, even for writing. So even though writing by a lake for a week sounds like heaven, for now I’ll settle for writing my query letter while my house is filled with kids for a sleepover and my husband watches a Red Sox game a few feet away! I may not revise as many chapters this summer as I had hoped, but instead I’ll make memories with my family and friends. Besides, the fresh air and sunshine may just inspire an idea or two along the way. (I’m kind of counting on that!) I do have a fun day planned for my birthday this weekend. Outdoor yoga, a bike ride, dinner at a new restaurant, and a walk along the canal which may or may not (but probably will!) include shopping and ice cream.

So stay tuned…All that may end up in my next story!

And for those of you who missed my post last week…

Take a peak at the Critique Corner, Tools for Tweens, and the Spotlight Tweens tabs on the site. I’ve updated them all with great stuff. As always, if you have questions or comments, please leave them below. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

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