Two summers ago, my boys were gone for two weeks—one week at camp and one week at grandma’s. I had just received a revise and resubmit. I put in at least forty hours those weeks, and when my kids were home, I put in many hours a day writing, a record for me. At the end of the summer, though I hadn’t enjoyed my summer much, I finished the R/R. Then I sent it out to betas and learned it was not as ready as I thought. In fact, I had a ton of work left to do. And to think—I had spent almost every minute of that summer writing!
Last summer I had different goals. I made it a goal to do something with my kids each day. I devoted 1-2 hours a day to my writing. I was working on a different project. (In a final touch of irony, the agent who requested the R/R left the business!) At the end of the summer, I hadn’t finished those revisions, but I enjoyed my summer, creating good memories with my kids.
Fast forward to now. I’m doing the same thing. I'm devoting 1-2 hours a day to my writing most days. I am finding that more than that does not accomplish as much.
See, the thing is I won’t get to be a hands-on mom for too many more years. This summer, my oldest turned 14. When I look back over all the time I’ve been writing seriously, I don’t regret the times not spent writing, but I do regret the times I made writing my sole purpose, the big number one in my life to the exclusion of all things. It didn’t make me happy or my family happy. Someday every week, every month will be like those two weeks they were away. I might be able to author full time, 40 hours a week if I wish. Though I don’t think I will. I love to write—don’t get me wrong—but when I do it full time, the other parts of myself, the part that likes to bake or knit or play in the woods, starts to atrophy. And what would I have to write about if the rest of me—the part the gives me all my ideas—starts to die?
So, yes, now that August is here, I’m a little sad. Only one month left of lazy summer days. Of having more time to write, to think, to be. But at least I don’t have the regret of watching a summer pass and not really sucking the marrow out of it. I am glad of that.
August 3rd question: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?
If I don't count "I Am a Queen" and "The Nativity Story" (age 6), my first work is a middle grade novel fantasy set on the San Juan Islands. It's still a story close to my heart, but it would need a lot of work to be ready to submit. I did pitch it several years ago and it got some requests, but I haven't done much with it since. So it's definitely collecting dust.
What is your first piece of writing? Is it easier for you to write in summer or at other times of the year?