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Monday, June 9, 2014

12 Tips for Balancing Summer Fun and Your Writing

In the Northern Hemisphere, summer will be commencing in just a few weeks. A welcome fact given the brutal winter most of us struggled through. But with the summer comes a new challenge: a writing schedule that ends up like the winter—unpredictable.

Now this is especially true if the weather is gorgeous and you’d rather spend time outside, making up for being stuck indoors during the winter. And those of you with kids don’t need me to remind you of the challenges we face with the kids at home. Here are a few suggestions for dealing with writing during the summer:

1. Unless you’re dealing with a deadline, give yourself permission to ease back on the writing. It will still be there in the fall. You don’t need to get in the same daily word counts that you aimed for during the winter. If you’re unpublished, enjoy this freedom while you have it. Once you’re an author on contract, you can pretty much say good-bye to your summer vacation. That’s right. I received my developmental edits while on vacation last summer. I didn’t have a choice. I had to do it.

2. Create a schedule and stick with it. For example, I write in the mornings from 6 am till 10 am during the summers. The bonus of this time of the year is that I don’t have to spend two hours in the morning getting my kids up and to the bus stop. That’s extra writing time in the morning for me. I also write in the evenings and before dinner. Fortunately, I’ve trained my husband to make dinner.  Two years of the same pasta and jarred sauce every day will do that.

3. Make sure your kids know that they should not disturb you while you’re writing. Okay, I know that’s not realistic, but it’s worth a try. Reward them if they let you write without interruption.

4. See if a friend will do a kid swap with you. They take your kids for a few hours and you return the favor. That’s like free babysitting.

5. Enlist family help. This is what saved me during my developmental edits last summer. My mother-in-law entertained my youngest two so I could write. Fortunately, I have a very supportive mother-in-law.

6. Enroll your kids in summer activities. That will buy you some extra writing time.

7. Pay attention to the time. Set a timer if you have to. It’s so easy to say, “Five more minutes,” and end up spending thirty minutes because you’re writing or catching up on your social networking.

8. Give yourself permission to cut back on your social networking time. This gives you more time for your writing (tweets don’t count as part of your daily word count) and for your kids. And it also sets a good example.

9. Enjoy your favorite activities. This will ensure your brain is refreshed when you get back to writing.

10. Have pen and paper (or whatever you write notes on) always with you. That way when you’re out enjoying summer, you’ll be ready if an idea hits.

11. Write outside!

12. Take a break from writing and catch up on your reading pile.

How do you maintain a balance between writing and everything else during summer?

Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL writes New Adult novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and can be found at her blog/website. She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero, and finds it weird talking about herself in third person. Her debut New Adult contemporary romance TELL ME WHEN (Carina Press, HQN) is now available. LET ME KNOW (Carina Press) will be available Sept 1st, 2014.


Kristin Lenz said...

Perfect timing, Stina - this is our first week of no school. But I'm feeling extra pressure to write because my agent has declared summer as the dead submission period for editors, and I need to have my manuscripts revised and ready to go for the fall. Definitely will be writing outdoors and bringing pen/paper with me. And reading, reading, reading for fun and inspiration!

Julia Tomiak said...

Perfect! I so needed this right now. Week number two with kids at home, and once again, writing got shoved out of the schedule. I love these tips- excellent ideas for balance. Thank you so much!