Summer is here. The days are hot, the children are free, and my writing…well, let’s just say not a heck of a lot of it gets done. While I rarely have more than five uninterrupted minutes at my keyboard, images from my story and conversations between my characters still haunt me. As I’m sure many other writers with children can attest, it’s easy to get frustrated and resentful when kept from our work, from our daydreams, and from the peace and quiet so many of us require.
Last year I put little thought into how I was going to make it through the summer holidays. Even though most days I only had one of my two bundles of joy at home, I wound up longing for a solitary vacation within the first few weeks. This year I’ve come up with a survival strategy that I hope will allow me to keep my sanity, get a little work done, and keep my family happy.
I will accept the fact that it will be impossible to write every day and that some days I shouldn’t even try. Nap time is officially a thing of the past in the Bullock household and my office is, for all practical purposes, in the same room as the television and game consoles. I have a choice - sit at the computer and stew about my inability to concentrate over the theme song from The Wonder Pets or sort laundry in the relative peace of my bedroom. This year I will choose the latter.
I will involve my four-year-old in chores. She wants to help and those days where she thinks it is fun to help mom empty the dishwasher and dust furniture are limited. Who knows, maybe if she actively helps prepare dinner, she may even be inclined to eat some of it.
I will bribe my eight-year-old to entertain her sister. It may at least allow me to get my blog posts done.
I will relax and enjoy my family on our vacation to Italy this summer with no plans to get anything done beyond exploring villages, watching my older daughter’s face light up (like mine) at the history of the buildings while my younger one dashes up every set of stairs she finds. Of course, this will all partly depend on my husband’s (questionable) ability to drive a stick-shift.
On those days when I can’t work, I’ll do related things from which I can be painlessly interrupted. I can transcribe old letters and update my website. Even painting alongside my children can be considered “research.”
I will not feel guilty for putting one child in day camp and the other in summer school for part of the vacation. I will make writing a priority on those days.
I will not feel pressure to keep the house spotless. Wait, I never do that anyway!
How about you? Leave a comment and share your strategies for keeping the muse happy during the summer holidays.