Friday, July 23, 2010

So, Kim, how have those summer survival strategies been working out?

By Kim

While I consider my two young daughters to be the most precious people in the world, school vacations are trying times in the Bullock household. Sasha and Ashlyn ‘try’ to get equal billing in Mommy’s day. I ‘try’ to comply and yet still get some writing done.

At the beginning of the summer I made up a list of strategies I intended to follow this vacation in order to keep everyone sane. I thought you might enjoy knowing how that’s working out for me.

I will accept the fact that it will be impossible to write every day and that some days I shouldn’t even try. Accepting I couldn't write every day was easy, but I’ve yet to experience that day I SHOULD try since May 24th.

I will involve my four-year-old in chores. This idea led to a fairly detailed allowance plan for both children. The good news: my house is far neater than it was a couple of weeks ago. The bad news: the only words written last week were ‘the plan.’

I will bribe my eight-year-old to entertain her sister. That’s how I’m writing this post on Sunday afternoon.

I will relax and enjoy our family vacation to Italy this summer. As you can tell from my last post, I excelled at this one. Unfortunately, now I can’t look out my window without wishing the view looked more Tuscan than Texan.

On those days that I can’t work, I’ll do things from which I can be painlessly interrupted. I meant things like transcribing old letters, updating my website, even painting. I’ve accomplished laundry. Does that count?

I will not feel guilty for putting one child in day camp and the other in summer school for part of the vacation. I’ve only succeeded in having both children out of the house for five days since May, so I haven’t had the opportunity to feel guilt. Two of those days were spent frantically packing for four people since my husband was unexpectedly on a business trip until the day before we left for Italy. Ashlyn’s first week back at school was supposed to be this past week. Monday at 11:00 AM I got a call saying she had thrown up and I needed to come get her. She was perfectly healthy and active the rest of the day. I got another call on Thursday for the same reason, and again she was fine. (The doctor says she's fine, too.)

I’m beginning to wonder if I'm ever supposed to write again.

I hope that by finishing this post today I can open my work-in-progress Monday morning, read over my last chapter to remember what Carl and Madonna Ahrens were up to when I last communed with them and (gasp) write something new…

What about you? Did you go into the summer with the best intentions only to accomplish very little or have you been able to keep with a schedule? If you are in the latter group, I'm envious. Please share your secret for success.

Photos by Deborah Downes. For my Roycroft readers, the photo of my children was taken on Via Appia Antica in Rome, a.k.a. the original Appian Way.


  1. Anonymous23 July, 2010

    And through it all you have maintained a sense of humor - mostly. Well done.


  2. Holy cow, there's someone else in this boat with me! I thought I was all alone.

    Yes, laundry counts. And so do dishes. And swimming when you'd rather be writing (or at least reading).

    My "plan" consisted of thinking up scenes and outlines and doing lots of mental character development. AKA good old-fashioned daydreaming.

    Hopefully I'll be able to pull at least some of it out of the dusty cobwebs in my brain come September! And by then I'll be losing this stupid tan I didn't really want to get!

    3 Cheers for Autumn! ;)

  3. Hi Miss Sharp,

    Thank you for your comment. Glad to know that laundry and dishes count!

    I thought I'd get to writing today, but this ongoing issue with my youngest child's digestive tract is not clearing up. I think she picked up a bug from contaminated water in Italy. We have run all sorts of tests and have one more to run, plus a specialist tomorrow. Poor kid.

    Writing is definitely on the back burner for now.


  4. Thankfully, Ashlyn's better. Plus you just rewrote the opening scene to your next chapter. Maybe you'll get a chance to complete that chapter before Ashlyn finishes summer school; maybe not. No doubt life at times gets in the way of writing. When that happens to me I take comfort in knowing I'm not alone and regard what I'm going through potentially leading to another book or essay or positively impacting my WIP.

  5. That's a good way to look at it, Mom. Life has definitely gotten in the way this summer, but hopefully things are improving now. Just wish I hadn't left off at such an emotionally difficult scene...

  6. Anonymous30 July, 2010

    I hope Ashlyn is better and that her sickness has subsided. It might not seem like you accomplished as much as you had hoped, but your trip to Italy was inspirational, and it could affect your writing in unanticipated ways.

    Katrina N.


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