7 Tips to Surviving the Summer as a Parent/Author

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Replace Daddy with Mommy on that picture.  So, things tend to get screwy when you have kids and summer hits.  Camps are so expensive that you might as well mortgage the house or sell a kidney.  Not your own kidney since that only nets you one year, so you’d only prolong the inevitable mortgage.  For some parents, the only option is to either work from home or bring the kid to work.  This is especially true for authors, so what are some things you can do?

  1. Maintain a list of minor projects and tasks that you can do while the kids are playing nearby.  These are things you can easily stop and walk away from such as social media, scheduling blog posts, or even tinkering with other ideas.  In some ways, the partial focus could help with the third idea because you’ll be running on subconscious thought to some extent.
  2. Use your nights and, if possible, weekends to make progress on big projects.  A chapter here and there might not be a bad thing.  If you can get even part of one finished after the kid goes to sleep then it’s a step in the right direction.  A danger here is that you don’t want to pull too many late nights.  Young kids get up early and they won’t really care if you stayed up late.  Not to mention this can lead to them making breakfast for themselves.  Enjoy the emergency cleaning and grocery shopping.
  3. Set your child up with an art project at a table where you can work as well.  You might have to break your concentration a bit, but you’ll know where your child is.  At most, you will have to look up to praise their work or get more supplies.  Keep cleaning supplies nearby, especially paper towels in case they knock over a liquid that races towards your laptop or manuscript.
  4. If your child is old enough then let them entertain themselves for part of the day.  It can be indoors with toys and you sit nearby to work on your own stuff.  Good weather means playing outside, which means you can set up on the patio or bring out a small table.  As long as you’re watching your child, things should be fine, but at a certain age, you don’t have to hover.
  5. Doesn’t hurt to ask grandparents, aunts, or uncles who live nearby if they want to watch your kids for a few hours.  You can’t do this very often and it depends a lot on how supportive they are of your writing, but it can’t hurt to ask.  Sweeten the deal with a home-cooked meal or store-bought ice cream for all.
  6. Turn your focus more to reading and reviewing other authors instead of your own projects.  While you might not make progress with your own stuff, these things can maintain your activity in the author community.
  7. Put everything on the back burner, relax, and enjoy time with your kid.  Before you know it, they won’t want to play games with you and then another blink of the eye will see them as an adult.  Enjoy the fun while it lasts.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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15 Responses to 7 Tips to Surviving the Summer as a Parent/Author

  1. All good points. I do like number seven. I actually put off writing until the time I could do it without worrying about the child.

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  2. L. Marie says:

    These are really good tips, Charles. A friend of mine is a stay at home dad who also is a writer. Number 3 is one that he uses. When I baby-sat his kids, he even had me make an art project with them.

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  3. Number seven is my favorite. It’s also one of those things can’t do over. Reading is never bad, because we can study how others crafted something. Then there’s benadryl, knocks them out for a while. (I never actually did this.)

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  4. Darcy Branwyn says:

    Summer camp is way too expencive. We have family who think we’re crazy for not doing it, and we’re like, “Do you guys enjoy being in debt?”

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