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

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Have I mentioned Summer is Here: Part 2

Okay, so I've got the ideas on how to distract the kids and sneak in a little writing time. In addition to popsicles, I've added Jell-O to the mix, because seriously who doesn't like Jell-O? (no, don't really tell me if you don't.) But there are those times when the kids will not be ignored. When they want to be within one cubic yard of you. So what should the dedicated writer do then?

Here are five writerly things you can do when your kids are hanging on your lap:

1) Clean your office. There's nothing like making kids feel useful, and having them run each and every scrap of paper you clean out of your files to the recycling bin while doing a thorough cleaning works well. When they finish that, give them a washcloth and have them get the crumbs off the floor.

2) Patch all those holes in your walls. You know the ones. They're above your computer monitor. They symbolize all the things that used to give you inspiration for a given manuscript. But now you're left with only holes. Get out the DAP and a spatula, and get the kids to patch them for you.

3) Watch movies. We all have those movies we consider "research." Yeah, well now's the perfect time to pull out that excuse for sitting in front of the tube. I find LORD OF THE RINGS the perfect inspiration for my writing, and we're talking ten hours when you factor in the extended versions.
(And could we get THE HOBBIT filmed already? Seriously, people.)


4) Set up scenes in using the dollhouse. Fight the talking heads syndrome and give the dolls something to do while they chat. Read your dialogue aloud using appropriate voices for the dolls. Of course, make sure it sounds realistic. Throw the Wicked Stepmother figurine in for fun because every story needs an antagonist. If you get really inspired, film the scene with your VADO and upload it to YouTube. This gets your blog post out of the way, too.

5) Instead of answering an endless stream of questions originating from the kids (most of them Harry Potter related), turn the question asking around. Ask their opinion on what makes a scene scary. Ask what one kid would really say to another. Ask them to tell you a joke. Ask them the most embarrassing thing that happened to them recently. Ask... yeah, the list goes on. And who knows? Maybe they'll even tire of the questions and revisit the Wii.

Got any more to add to the mix?

18 comments:

Christina Farley said...

Great ideas! Personally I love summers because I don't work so I get a lot more writing done with late nights and early mornings. I like listening to my kids as we're playing because it gets me back into the mindset of how kids think and how create they are.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I love the Lord of the Rings movies too for inspiration. I think they're about the best movie remakes of fantasy books.

I don't know how you guys go outside to the pool in the heat for three hours like you said yesterday. I'd shrivel. You Texans must be really strong.

laurapauling said...

Great suggestions!

Christine Marciniak said...

So, have you filmed the dolls yet? Because this is something I'd like to see!

PJ Hoover said...

It really does help get you in the mindset, Christina. Kids are so...unique.

Natalie, I knew you would love LOTR! I think it's fabulous, too.
I float in the pool the whole time and we use plenty of sunscreen. It's actually very relaxing.

Thanks, Laura!

I haven't, Chris, but I am seriously thinking about it. Maybe around book release time :)
I can see you doing the same thing!

Becky Levine said...

Great list! And, yes, could we HAVE The Hobbit,please!

PJ Hoover said...

I'm already pumped for THE HOBBIT, Becky, but must wait...

T. Anne said...

Set up scenes using a doll house reminds me of Meg Cabott! Plus, I can't count how many times I've played dolls with my DD and had to daydream about my novel. Magically those dolls were acting out my scenes. ;)

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Ooo, great suggestions. Though if your kids are anything like I was as a kid, as soon as my mom mentioned cleaning I was nowhere to be found. Now I wonder if she knew that and specifically threatened us with feather dusters to make us disappear. Hm. *ponders*

:)

Kelly Lyman said...

I watch the TLOTR for inspiration too. Your ideas were great, but my kids are still too young to watch those three movies. Any suggestions for real little ones? For some reason I can't find too much inspiration from Barney, Thomas the Train or Mickey Mouse Club House!

PJ Hoover said...

Kelly, do you play with goop? Playdough? You could create scenes out of the dough. Goop is just plain fun, though!

PJ Hoover said...

Anne, I'm looking forward to those doss scenes! I can picture them already!

Shannon, my kids think they want to help clean. And then it holds their interest for a bit. But a bit is better than nothing :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I love the idea of using the dollhouse to play out scenes...We made a custom dollhouse several years ago and all it does now is collects dust. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Time to undust it, isn't it, Sharon!

Trisha Pearson said...

Can I come hang out at your house? It all sounds so fun! Seriously, I'm going to save that LOTR suggestion for any rainy summer days that we're trapped in the house. That's an awesome idea!

I'm so with you on the Hobbit. I want it. NOW!

PJ Hoover said...

If you hung out here, Trisha, it would be even more fun!

Heather Zundel said...

Have you heard the update about The Hobbit movie? The director has reluctantly walked away from the film. Now it's on Uber hiatus again.

PJ Hoover said...

Heather, I was so bummed about The Hobbit. But everything happens for a reason.