Summer Wind Down

AI Path2For those of us with children, the beginning of summer meant a huge shift in our schedules and more demands on our time. Which translates to less writing time—and often more frustration.

Now the end of August is here–the summer wind down. In some places, school has already begun. This time next week I will be luxuriating in the quiet of my home as my daughter has her first day of school. This is also her first year of full-day school, so it will be strange and exciting for both of us.

I know I will spend the first few days of school “wasting” those precious 6 hours of quiet time. I will do things I want to do, like photo projects, genealogy, reading, and maybe even napping. I know because I have done that every year for the past 3 years of preschool. After those first few days, however, I will set up a schedule so I can use that time to the fullest.

During this last week of summer, however, things are winding down. My daughter’s last swim lesson is this morning. Our final vacation is in the books. Lazy days are ending as the school ramp-up begins—forms to fill out, lunch accounts to be opened, school supplies to be bought, first-day-of-school clothes to be chosen.

While the return to school means a return to schedules, the start of September also brings a gear-up in writing. After an (unintentionally long) summer hiatus of my critique group, we finally met again this week. What a pleasure it was to see all the comments peppering my manuscript! To talk shop with others as thirsty for camaraderie as I.

AI Beach 2And maybe now I can finally shake the last of the summer doldrums that grip me every June. With no more lazy morning lie-ins, no more redolent hot afternoons, and no more sitting by the ocean (even if it’s only in my head), my mind should snap back into focus and get back into top writing shape.

I feel the way I always did as a kid—I loved summer when it started, but was always eager for school come September!

Does September mark a shift for you? Or are you past the point where you experience a summer wind down?

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?

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