Summer Slump: Is It September Yet?

I got the call yesterday. The Theater Camp my daughter was supposed to attend next week was cancelled because they didn’t have enough kids. My gal was disappointed–but I was the one near tears. Why? Because I just saw 10 hours of precious writing time vanish into thin air.

I’m in the summer slump.

Word Count chart showing summer slumpI haven’t worked on my WIP since June 27th. Not a word. Chapter 50 is waiting for me. And waiting. And waiting.

Between running my gal to swim lessons, teaching at her summer camp, shopping for a new car, and entertaining my daughter, I have had no time for anything other than the necessities.

Mostly I’ve been doing marketing. Blogging, sending requests to reviewers, setting up appearances, and lining up beta readers for another WIP. Yes, I realize that if I stopped blogging I would have more time to write, but a) I like blogging and b) right now I get more name recognition for that than my books.

So, I am wrestling with the guilt I always deal with. When I’m chilling with my gal, all I can think about is the work I’m not doing, and when I’m working I think I’m neglecting my daughter. This is probably typical for working moms, but I think it’s magnified during the summer slump when my daughter is home more frequently.

Once you move into the published side of writing, there is an incredible amount of pressure to churn out material. Everything you read implies that the most successful authors are the ones with many books. Having my writing come to a complete halt (when I am already slow) adds to the pressure. On the other side, being a mom is always a pressure-intensive job. I feel like I’m being squeezed in a vise between the two. It’s not pleasant.

I think I need to just accept that I’m going to write almost nothing for the next six weeks. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but if I keep striving for the impossible I will grow resentful. Not the way I want to spend the summer with my daughter. I want to enjoy our time together, as I know soon enough she will be making summer plans of her own and I will never see her.

In future years, I will try to structure my writing year with this “summer slump” in mind. I will try to schedule as much marketing and other tasks I can do in snatches of time for this time of summer.

So I’m going to take a few deep breaths and see what happens.

How do other parent-writers survive the summer months?



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