Tips 4 Summer Writing

Yesterday was my granddaughter’s birthday. I offered to host a little “family” party since her mother is putting on a much bigger “kid” party–complete with pony rides–this weekend. A dinner party is not a big deal, but there was also the delivery and set up of the new washer and dryer to replace the one that died with a full load of sopping wet towels in it, the reading of directions for operating a new front loader, then playing catch-up with all the laundry that had accrued between death and delivery. There went my morning.

Then, there was the weather forecast: sunny and hot. This meant it was time to set up the pool. Thankfully, my hubby stepped up to take on the bulk of this, but there were the occasional consultations. “Where does this go? How does this fit together? Etc.”

Factor in the time spent on business–catching up since my bookkeeper/DIL had been on vacation for a week.


Sound familiar?

If you’re a writer working at a “day” job, summer means juggling the usual demands of work and family, with the added problem of childcare and/or providing a fun summer experience for your kids/grandkids. I include the latter because that’s my situation. I work at home–fulltime–but that time is greatly tempered by the fact that I love to have my granddaughters around and we put up a pool every summer specifically for that reason.

So, how do you work AND play?

Here are a couple of tips, but I’d gladly take more:

1. Time Out.
Our pool is available to the grandchildren any time as long as there’s an adult present. That doesn’t mean I drop out of my story to join the fun every time the kids show up. You can’t do that in the “real” job, you can’t do that if you have a deadline–self-imposed or contracted.
But you can and should factor in breaks when you’re sitting for long periods of time. A little splashing, the high-pitch squeals of delight, a refreshing slice of watermelon might mean all the difference in actually hitting your intended word count vs suffering in exclusion, pouting, distracted and feeling sorry for yourself.

2. Before and After
I just heard a report that the middle latitudes of both hemispheres are expected to experience record high summer temperatures over the next few decades. You know what that means: siestas. On those brutal summer days, I get up early, walk, water plants, get those pesky household chores out of the day. I’m free to write, take those breaks mentioned in Tip #1, and if the day catches up with me, I take a siesta. (Or in my case, I do a yoga pose called Feet Up The Wall, with an eye pillow. Restorative!)

3. Eat less and more often
Huh? Cooking heats up the house. Healthy snacks make great, simple, petite meals. My favorite summer “lunch” is almonds with fresh blueberries (or any kind of fresh fruit). I keep my chocolate in the fridg. A piece with a glass of iced tea is sublime. Try lemon and/or lime slices in your water. Peligrino and orange juice=less calories, and it’s bubbly. Yogurt with granola isn’t just for breakfast. It makes a wonderful mid-day snack. And I slice my big, fat watermelon into wedges and store in a sealed plastic container in the refridgerator. It’s amazing how much faster it gets eaten if you don’t have to find a knife, make a mess, etc. And don’t forget SMOOTHIES. Add a healthy spoonful of protein powder and you’re good to go.

4. Read aloud and leave bread crumbs
Say what?
I’ve started reading the first few paragraphs of my WIP aloud when I sit down to start writing. I don’t know why, but my brain seems to work a little harder when I do this. Maybe it’s a throw-back to grade school when your teacher made you read your work out loud. Don’t know, but it seems to help get me focused.
My writer pal, Susan Crosby, told me she never leaves her work for the day without sprinkling a few “Whatifs” or  a “Maybewecoulddothis” at the bottom of her page. I agree that those hints seem to serve as a fast pass back into the writing queue.

That’s all from me, but I’d be happy to hear any tips you all have on mixing summer fun and writing responsibilities. Remember, any post enters you in my contest.

Have some summer fun and get busy writing…or reading. That works for me, too. 🙂


10 Replies to “Tips 4 Summer Writing”

  1. Your tips look great. Since I work in an integrated preschool and we have a six week summer program I do work those six weeks, but I shorten my hours. It helps me get a little more writing time in. And we do have a few weeks completely off in the summer, too. But I find writing in the winter challenging trying to squeeze an hour out here and there.

  2. Nancy, the longer days seems to help in summer, don’t you think? When it gets dark at four-thirty, I start thinking about bed. LOL. I only write at night when I am backed against a deadline wall. And then I pay for it later when my immune system takes a hit and I come down with a cold or something.

    Enjoy your six-week program. I love pre-schoolers. My granddaugher who turned four simply blossomed during her first year of preschool. Her vocabulary is over the moon improved and her interest in learning is an absolute joy to see. So, keep up the important work!!


  3. I’m not a writer just a reader but I enjoyed reading your tips. I can tell you’re a loving Grandma just like me. Grandkids are a joy, I feel blessed to have my two wonderful little grandsons who are ages one and three.

  4. Rita, aren’t those the absolute best ages? As I mentioned to Nancy, three-year olds delight me with their sense of wonder. And toddlers are so fun to watch since everything is so new and fresh. I hold yours are close enough to see often, Rita. I feel very blessed to have mine nearby.

    And I think those tips are sorta “summer friendly”–not restricted to writing. 🙂


  5. Love your tips, Deb! Summer smoothies are a favorite in my house. I add ground flaxseed to mine for a healthy kick.

    Like you, I’m not a night owl. I wake up by 5:30 or 6 as it is, but I tend to wake up even earlier in the summer…sometimes as early as 4:30…just to have those few hours of peaceful writing time. That way I can save late afternoons and evenings for family time. I’ll also squeeze in writing or writing related business when the kids go off to play at a friend’s house (I return the kid watch favor to that mom ;)).

  6. I’ve never bought ground flaxseed. I hate getting the whole seeds stuck in between my teeth. Might give the ground stuff a try. I buy a protein mix that blends nicely with fruit. Vanilla soy milk is a nice touch, too.

    Yep. 4:30 is so very peaceful. I love that time of day in the summer.

    My kids do a lot of trades with childcare. Smart and good for the kids, too.

    Great blog today with Ellen Hartman! Really enjoyed it.


  7. Thanks for the reminder of managing summer and writing! My kids are bigger, but they still know how to distract mom with their comings and goings and can I have the car requests. I’m writing seriously this summer for the first time in a few years so your tips are timely and much appreciated! I’m going to have to check out that yoga pose. I always seem to doze around 3 whether I mean to or not.



  8. Happy writing, Laurin! Does this mean your day job is history? Hope your summer is super productive–I’m looking forward to your next book.

    BTW, if you’ve experienced any recent unexplained weight gain AND this daily slump is a new thing, you might think about getting your thyroid levels checked. Both of those things happened to me and a blood test showed I had an under-performing thyroid and one pissed-off pituitary (my doctor’s description, not mine). Just a thought.

    Write on!!


  9. My favorite summer snack is frozen grapes. I wash them, pick them off the stems, put a serving in a small baggie, and put the baggies in the freezer. They are like little grape popsicles! Very refreshing, nutritious, and when they’re frozen they take a while to eat. Sheri

  10. I use frozen grapes in my smoothies, but I’ve never tried eating them. Thanks for the idea, Sheri!!


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