Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Writer's Life: School is Out! (Rachel)


School is out! If it isn’t for your kids, it will be soon.

This is the time of year that my social media feeds fill with parents bemoaning or celebrating the ending of the school year and the beginning of summer. As a homeschooling mother of three, this transition of seasons signals something different for me.

During the school year, I spend about 90% of my time educating my kids, keeping the household running, and keeping up with all the things that need to be done. Writing takes a backseat to keeping everyone on schedule, breaking up fights, enforcing rules, explaining and teaching concepts, and managing our schedules.

The change in season means a shift in focus. The kids no longer demand my attention most of the day, and schooling is set aside for writing. Even when my children were small, summer meant my mind was freer to focus on writing ideas, brainstorming, and utilizing every spare moment of writing time to the max—anything other than lesson planning and calendar juggling.

Now that my kids are older, maximizing my word count is easier. I claim the schoolroom, spread out my workspace, shoo the kids from the room, put on my headphones, and disappear into my imaginary worlds for hours at a time. I make huge publishing plans, write, edit, and plot. The world is full of possibilities and productivity in the summer months.

Sound boring? Where is my time in the sun? What about vacation time?

I look forward to summer because writing is my favorite activity. I love diving in and living in my book projects. It is never dull.

As for time in the sun, well, I have never been attracted to the sun. I still enjoy admiring sunny days, but since a recent health change, the sun causes pain and health complications. I am learning to avoid it as much as possible without turning into a hermit or a vampire without the whole undead blood-drinking thing. Thankfully, my supportive husband has taken over the swim party duties so the kids don’t miss out.

I will still take vacation time. I have family coming later in the summer, and I will take days off frequently enough thanks to health issues, appointments, and just life. Also, I will have to take time to plan next year’s school year, but after homeschooling nine years, that should only take me a week or so come fall.

So, what does a summer writing day look like for me? It begins with getting up, breakfast, a shower (if I am lucky), and settling everyone in for the day. Sometimes my to-do list delays things more. Life happens. Then, I do a quick scan of my email and social media. When I finally get a chance to get going on my writing, the session usually starts an hour before lunch or in the early afternoon. On a good day, I can manage two or more hours of writing and produce a few thousand words. Other days, it is more like a thousand words or less due to research sessions or interruptions from the kids. Despite appearances, they are definitely not perfect.

Now that you have been given a glimpse of my summer plans,
what do you expect your summer to look like?

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