"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Monday, June 07, 2010

Have I mentioned Summer is Here: Part 1

Here in Texas, school is out. Actually, it's been out for over a week now. And as a "full-time" writer, what this means is I've got a summer ahead filled with kids, kids, and more kids. Now don't get me wrong. I adore my kids. They are fun and energetic and mine, all mine. But they need attention. And food. And watering (or is that the plants?).
The list goes on. Suffice it to say, as a full-time writer, summer gives me the opportunity to become much more creative with my time.

That said, I'm going to examine my summer this week. And I'll kick it off today with five creative ways I can squeeze extra time out of the day:

1) The pool. After a three hour trip to the pool, the kids deserve some down time. They are beat. The sun wipes it out of people, and 9 and 5 year-olds are no exception. So I'm aiming to wear the kids out as much as possible when I am "on" such that when we get home, they are ready to chill.

2) Popsicles. There is nothing more fun for a kid than being sent outside to eat a popsicle. I can check blogs in the five minutes said popsicle takes to eat. And when they knock on the door and ask for another, you guessed it: I get five more minutes.

3) In the spirit of snatching tiny amounts of time, I'm keeping my laptop downstairs during the day. I removes the isolated feeling, and I can work at the same table my kids are painting at.

4) Foster independence. It's got to help the kids to have them get their own milk and candy and paint supplies. It makes them feel grown up. Now if only I could figure out a way to get them to do the grocery shopping and the house repairs.

5) We didn't spend $275 on a Wii for nothing. Yes, I am not beyond the "Wii as stimulation" for the children. In fact, a week into summer and I've convinced myself that at least one hour of Wii is good for the kids each day. It helps with eye-hand coordination or something like that. I'm pretty sure my parents thought the same thing when I was young.

Anyone else in the same boat as me? How are you getting those extra hours?


Christine Marciniak said...

Sounds like you have a good plan! When summer vacation finally starts here in a couple of weeks, I'll be in the same boat. Luckily we have a playground across the street with counselors. The kids love being there - and it keeps them busy - and the house quiet!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how it will work out exactly. But I know I do more work at night, which is why I try to make it so I'm rewriting/editing during the summer. It's harder for me to write fresh at night. But I definitely take advantage of early morning and downtime after swimming at the lake. :)

Mary_not_Martha said...

I need a map to that park with counselors! I attempted to write a 500 word essay today for a writing class and it took me ALL day - interrupted with fights, boys riding bikes in knee-deep puddles, requests for snacks, sandwiches and cereal and more fights. Don't get me wrong - I love my boys, it's just that they aren't mixing well with my one day of writing!

Angela Ackerman said...

I think these are great ideas. You can also encourage your kids to build a fort (inside or outside), invite their friends over (when they have friends around, they don't need you around), encourage them to try to bake a recipe all by themselves (no bake if they are too young for the stove).

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha! I'm in the same boat. Got my son a Wii yesterday for his fifth birthday!

Kiki Hamilton said...

Encourage them to sleep in! One thing I love about my daughter being a teenager now!

I used to work a "real" job from home when she was younger and it's a challenge!!

The wii sounds like a great idea!

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

I'm in the same boat--trying to squeeze architecture and writing in around the full time mommy gig. I signed The Boy up for a lot of camps, but during the weeks that he's home I create a 'work folder' full of science experiment sheets, puzzles and brain teasers, and art projects-- as well as cursive and multiplication practice pages...which he has to do every week.

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

I love your list! Oh Popsicles! I live off them in the summer - that and watermelon... ;o)

Um extra hours, well since I don't have kids what I do have to juggle is mini-vacays...those cut into writing time...yeah your friends and family get ticked when you want to stop and type tied to a hefty laptop rather than go out...SO my little Tabby the Toshiba netbook is saving me... she allows me to be poolside or on the sand or late nights curled up in bed.

Thank goodness for wifi! ;o)

Oh and I totally think the wii is good for hand - eye coordination...also for um...whooping your brother at MarioKart!

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Melissa said...

I'm in the same boat with you. I'm letting the kiddos sleep in extra late and the t.v. is on way too much, but I usually take them to my Dad's pool every day. I'm going to also start giving them school work sometime next week (They deserved a break for a few weeks).

PJ Hoover said...

The playground wounds like bliss, Chris! I remember that park! Enjoy it and dream of many sunny days.

Laura, you are so right that revising is better at night than new writing. But mornings may become my answer, too.

Awake kids don't mix well with writing, do they, Mary. Congrats on the 500 words, though!

PJ Hoover said...

Very great suggestions, Angela, esp. the fort one. They would be all over that!

I hope he loves the Wii, Corey :) Mario Kart, I've found, is a blast!

Ah, sleep in, Kiki! That would be nice! We do Kung Fu most mornings which definitely gets the day started early. Love your blog post, btw!

PJ Hoover said...

Oooh, a work folder. Good one, Amy! I will do that!

Watermelon! How could I forget, Courtney. And Wifi is the best!

Melissa, we are on the same wavelength. We'll have to compare notes through the summer!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I can't believe you venture outside for 3 hours in that Texas heat. I'd shrivel. I heard it was over 100 on the weekend.

PJ Hoover said...

I have this floatie, Natalie, and I can just sit in it at the pool and float. It's actually really relaxing!

Miriam S. Forster said...

I vote for watering the kids AND the plants. And the tortoises.

Summer is my slow time, so I'm not really in that boat right now. But during the school year when I work a lot, I usually just write in small pieces whenever possible.

Good luck!

Tabitha Bird said...

Good plan! I hope you get that writing time in.

I have a three year old who doesn't nap any more. *sigh* so writing time happens when he is asleep at night. That's if i can keep my eyes open. :)

PJ Hoover said...

I got it, Miriam. Water everything. That I can do. I hope you write gobs this summer!

Oy, Tabitha, I feel for you. Three and not napping is not the best combination. Caffeine may help :)

Tess said...

I secretly sneak away to the hammock with my laptop. Sometimes it takes them up to an hour to figure out I'm gone and then come find me. Ah, what sweet moments those are :)

Kelly said...

I tried the pool thing, but after being out in the sun, I was too tired to do much myself! :)
I will probably continue to write in the evenings (but will have less time as kids go to bed later in the summer). The kids do play outside in the yard more, so I will have a little quiet time. But I like the popsicle idea!

PJ Hoover said...

Would love a hammock, Tess. Now that sounds heavenly!

Plus, you can have a Popsicle yourself from time to time, Kelly!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

It sounds like you've got a good plan in place, PJ! I'm looking forward to having my teen at home this summer. We've got a lot planned, but because she writes too, there will be quiet time for writing most days. :)

Becky Levine said...

The year my son got his first game system, his eye-doctor said the part of his vision that tracks rapid movements got seriously strong. And this is NOT a lie! Plus, you just know that if there'd been a DVD player and a Harry Potter movie around, Ma Ingalls would totally have had the girls watching it while she and Pa built the house! That's my theory & I'm sticking to it.

Yay for you for summer planning. Myself, I'm figuring my teenager doesn't WANT to be woken up in the morning, and I'm giving us both that gift. :)

PJ Hoover said...

How awesome your teen writes, too, Sharon. That must be a great thing to do together!

Becky, I'm in total agreement. i can picture Laura in front of the TV right now :) Thanks for the great visual!
And too funny about what the doctor said!