My Summer in Numbers

Posted Sep 2 2014, 7:30 am in , , , , , , , , ,

So yesterday was Labor Day, which signaled the end to the summer. I love summer. I always have, but summer is always difficult for me as a writer. The kids are home all day, every day, which means my usual writerly schedule is out the window.

Last summer, a couple of writer friends, Erica O’Rourke and Clara Kensie, developed the idea of Summer of All the Words (#SoATW). Every night Sunday through Thursday, we’d meet on Twitter for an hourlong writing sprint. They continued this summer. In addition, my writers group, Chicago-North RWA paired with our sister chapter, Windy City, and sponsored weekend writing times (#ChiWords). Both turned helped me to be successful this summer.

Last year, #SoATW got me to almost completely draft Moira’s book, Catch Your Breath. This summer, I needed to write Maggie’s story, which is still untitled. In addition, I still had kids at home, my part-time jobs to do and editing and revisions and other writerly things. So here’s the breakdown:

Kids home for the summer: 3

Days I taught 4-hours college courses: 4

Sets of college papers graded: 10

Weeks of swim lessons: 4 (which turned out to be a great time to write, edit, or chat with my agent or publicist) +countless hours at the pool for fun swimming

Hours each week spent on part-time days jobs: about 20

Seasons of TV shows: 6 (all 3 seasons of Scandal by myself and all 3 seasons of Melissa and Joey with the kids)

Trips to the beach: 2

Weeks spent out of town: 2 (one for a family funeral and one so my kids could see my husband because he’d been stuck working out of town for weeks — no writing happened these weeks)

Book reading at Lady Jane’s Salon: 1

Parties Hosted: 2 (one was sleepover)

Guest blog posts written for upcoming book releases: 13

Books copy edited: 2 (Her Winning Formula and Just a Taste)

Novellas proofread: 3 (the Hot & Nerdy trilogy)

Movies watched at the theater: 9 – a lot, even for me (Chef, 100 Foot Journey, Sex Tape, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Guardians of the Galaxy, Maleficent, The Fault in Our Stars, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Step Up All In)

Unmeasureable stuff: planned promo for 3 novellas (Hot & Nerdy trilogy)

And finally, for my writing:

6300 words for a bonus for Hot & Nerdy

71,000 words for Maggie’s book (started on 6/11)

Overall, I call this a success. No, Maggie’s book isn’t quite finished, but it’s close. 

I didn’t keep track of all of this to make anyone feel bad about what they haven’t done with their summer, but as proof of what can be done. I wrote a lot, but I also spent a ton of time with my kids. All but 1 of those movies I saw with the kids. We ate dinner together every night, just like we do during the school year, as well as breakfast and lunch. I didn’t keep track of how many book I read because I suck at keeping track of that, but it was quite a few. 

So the next time you say you want to write but you don’t have the time, rethink that. Maybe you just need to adjust your priorities. My writing is important and I needed to do it every day,  but because my kids are also important, I wrote at ten o’clock at night. Now that all the kids are back in school, I won’t keep that schedule. I’m more than happy to get back to my daytime schedule, but you do what you have to do.

Happy writing!



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