Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: Ahhh, summer. We’ve discussed what the summer season means to us, but what does it mean to our writing practice and our reading habits? For some, summer brings more leisure time. For others, the pace picks up with kids out of school and vacations to work around. What does your summer look like in terms of time to write and read?
Jamie Wallace: I recall the summers of my childhood with great fondness. They seemed an endless stretch of days in which to read and sketch, write and wander, daydream and create. As an adult and a mother, my summers are somewhat less idyllic. More than at any other time of the year (except, perhaps, the holidays), the approach of summer fills me with both happy anticipation and anxious dread. On the one hand, I love the idea of spending some quality time enjoying less structured days with my daughter. On the other hand, I know from experience that having her out of school will amp up the challenge of balancing my freelance work, motherhood, and my own writing projects.
If I’m going to be honest, I sort of give up during the summer. It isn’t that I’ll walk away from my writing practice or my ever-growing stack of to-be-read books, but I definitely lower my expectations. There are only so many hours in a day, and – more importantly – only so many summers to be spent with a daughter who still enjoys my company (most of the time). So, I’ll allow myself to be a slacker. I’ll sacrifice some productive time in favor of more personal time.
I don’t think I’ll regret it.
Lisa J. Jackson: Summer doesn’t seem any different to me than other months. Work keeps me busy during the week and I may get out more on the weekends in the summer, but I can’t really say that my reading or writing habits change. With no kids or partner to work around, every day is always what I want it to be – the balancing act doesn’t change unless I want it to. Having said that, I just realized that in July I have a few trips that will take me away from technology for 2 or more days at a time — so that will mean reorganizing a few week days to balance the work so I won’t stress about it while I’m playing! (but the same is going to be true for Aug, Sep, and Nov right now, too!)
Diane MacKinnon: Summer does change things for me, but I think it balances out because when my husband is on vacation with me, as we are this week, I can get some writing time during the day if he is occupied with our son, but there’s sometimes less time because this particular week my husband is also caring for his mother so I’m in charge of outings with Joey while he’s busy with his mom.
My son still goes to preschool (only they call it summer camp and they go swimming every day) twice a week, so on weeks we are home I still have my regular schedule.
I’ll be driving with my son to PEI, Canada, to visit family later in the summer and I don’t expect to get any writing done that week except a little journal writing at the end of the day. Summer is so short and beach days or park days are so precious, I usually opt to give up writing time to spend more time with my son (and the rest of my family.) Right now my son is napping so we can go see fireworks this evening so I used the time to finish my blog post for tomorrow.
I have to say I used to love sitting on the beach and reading or writing in my journal. But now, I’m happy just to be on the beach, although I always bring my journal and I usually get to write at least a little bit. Reading and the beach will be back when my son is older and interested in other things besides building construction sites and castles in the sand with me and his dad. You know what they say, the days are long but the years are short. Everything changes so I don’t begrudge the time I don’t spend writing right now. The days are coming when I’ll have plenty of time to write.
Deborah Lee Luskin: Last week, I sent copies of Ellen to ten readers, so I’m momentarily untethered from a project that has anchored me to my desk for the past three years. I feel light and giddy and a bit unfocused, which I’m enjoying! I’m also tackling some long-deferred projects, like updating my clips and cleaning my house. Then, I’m heading out for a week in Maine, and taking the novels of Virginia Woolf on my Kindle, already starting to think about my next novel . . . Other projects include updating my website and preparing to start my own blog. But these will all take back seat once I hear from my readers. I expect to dive back in to a final draft by mid-July and to keep my nose to the grindstone, so I can turn in a book to my agent in September. These are subjects I’ll be covering in upcoming posts, so stay tuned!
Susan Nye: After seven years working as a chef at a private club in July and August, I now have my summer back. Or at least I’ll have a little more free time. When it comes to schedule, my summer now looks a lot like the rest of the year. I have weekly, monthly and quarterly deadlines along with a new, part-time job. Plus more members of my family are around so there is often something fun going on. So there will be crazy, busy days and weeks as well as a few relaxing afternoons to read in the shade or kayak on the lake.
Wendy Thomas: Summer, ah the double-edged sword of summer – so much to do, so little time. I have to consciously work on carving out a schedule between the kids’ activities. They are older but they still require guidance and rides to and from work and friend’s houses. In the summer, I tend to religiously rely on my to-do lists in order to get done all that needs to get accomplished (*highlighted* on today’s list is an article that is due by 5 p.m.) My reading changes in the summer, much as I eat lighter food, I tend to read “lighter” books. More stories and more inspirational materials are on the menu – books that can be picked up and put down at a moment’s notice.