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?



Summer Doldrums

AI Beach 2I don’t know what it is about summer, but it makes me lazy. Maybe it’s because we’ve been conditioned since childhood to think of summer as “vacation time” or “time off.” All I know is that when the heat and humidity turn up, all I feel like doing is sitting in a cool place and reading a book—unless I fall asleep, which is also perfectly acceptable.

To add to this lazy mindset, those of us with children know that now you have the kids home all day. This will completely mess with whatever productive schedule you had hammered out during the school year. It will also seriously impede your sitting and reading/sleeping plans.

My child is still young, and that means she wants me to play with her from the minute we get up to the minute her head hits the pillow at night. This gives me a dilemma: 1) Get no work done and play with her all day, or 2) tell her sometimes that I need to work and then deal with the guilt of feeling like a bad mommy.

We’ve been trying to work it out as far as work-play balance, but all I can say is that 6 more weeks of summer just might steal whatever sanity I have left.

Of the two distractions, though, the more sinister productivity-killer is the summer doldrums. I’ll grab my half-hour to work and then…email…Facebook…Word Scramble…a little more Facebook…maybe some Pinterest…guess I should check Twitter…more Word Scramble…now, time to write…what do you mean my time’s up?

It’s unusual for me to not be able to focus when I need to. But something about summer just sucks the motivation out of me. I crave doing NOTHING. And I am not a person who likes to do nothing.

I struggle through as best I can, waiting for the cool winds of autumn to blow away the summer cobwebs. It will come, but right now that shady spot under the tree is tempting me.

How about you? Do you suffer from the summer doldrums? Do you have any tips to shake it off and get back to your usual productive self?

WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien