The previous summers weren’t like this one. My son would have school to make sure he didn’t have any regression. He was eligible for it this summer too, but we had already signed him up for a half-day program that ran through July. Even after we found out, we thought this program would be better. Besides, I could do things with him to help prevent regression. He showed me some online games that include math and the library has a big reading program. It isn’t like I have anything else to . . . Oh yeah, I’m also a stay-at-home author.
I knew this challenge was coming, which is why I was working so hard from January to the end of June. Write 3 books, published one, edited the others a few times, and busted my butt to make sure I didn’t have anything hanging over my head for the 2 months of summer break. It wasn’t pretty, but I maintain that the experience was worth it and I was able to relax a little during the days my son had his program. Leaving myself the Raven finale and outlining wasn’t bad since those are low pressure projects. That was basically what I had to do here. Put parenthood to the forefront and maintain my social media presence as an author. Releasing Quest of the Brokenhearted was the biggest event that I had to contend with.
Honestly, I think most of the pressure of balancing working from home and a kid was coming from outside forces. Allowed to relax and focus, I could work at the table while my son played with his toys during the hotter parts of the day. Before and after that, we’d go on trips or play outside. Sure, I couldn’t take on my projects with gusto and dump an entire week into work. Things that require full concentration weren’t going to happen, but many people acted like my son was going to be a whirling dervish of destruction in terms of my schedule. Since I only have the one kid, it’s a lot easier to plan around him. This is just me though because I do know people with multiple kids who have to do a much bigger juggling act than me. My hat is off to them and I wish them many nights of blissful sleep in their future.
Because I know others who are in worse spots than me, I feel like I can’t complain about keeping one kid at bay. It does get frustrating when my email, tweet notifications, and blog comments build up. Yet, I figure many people are busy during the summer, so delayed responses are expected. I mean, we’re all trying to enjoy the weather or the break if we can. Not to mention, I can’t exactly hand my son off to someone or plop him in front of a video game. Some people would say that the second thing is an option, but I’m not a fan of that. If he’s going to play a game then I’ll be joining him and I don’t want him in front of a screen all day. Not unless the weather is really bad and even then I’d prefer we play with Legos and board games. I decided to be the stay-at-home parent, which means I have to do the job.
Battering myself earlier in the year definitely made this easier, but it’s something that I shouldn’t try again. At the very least, I need to take a week off between projects to get my head back together. Not my son’s breaks because I can’t really rest during those periods, but ones where there are fewer people around. I did it a little, but it was more because there were so many events going on during those weeks. Didn’t make any sense to force writing when my mind was elsewhere. That’s the main point of the summer too. I could tackle the next War of Nytefall first draft since Volumes 1-3 are done. Yet, I wouldn’t be fully invested in it. Taking on the Raven finale was fine and starting in on the next Ichabod Brooks collection is something I could easily pause. Again, we come down to priorities and that means putting my ego and own wants aside.
So, what do other people do during the summer? Is it a time of slowing down and a shift in focus?