~by Amanda Smith
My kids’ Summer break started last week. As most moms I am relieved. Relieved to be done with the crazy schedules and the school projects and “Do your homework.” Like most moms I look forward to slow mornings, relaxed afternoons, time for creativity, puttering in the garden, long-legged boys snuggling in my lap, fun day trips, lawn games, evening barbecues and all the other things that come with lazy summer days.
But as a writer, I am experiencing heart palpitations. Because come summertime, my writing skids to a screeching halt; or happens in rushed, frustrated intervals, filled with equal parts resentment and guilt.
At the start of these glorious three months filled with sticky kids and popsicles, I am more than three quarters through the rewrite of my novel. Having worked on it every week day since March, I have the momentum of a rhino on roller skates. I am motivated. I am in the GROOVE, baby. And I am stressed.
However, thanks to my 24 Carrot Writing colleagues and our commitment to goal setting, I have a plan. I boiled and seasoned my goal brew until I had it neatly reduced down to a robust, concentrated, doable list of summer goals.
Here are a few tips to help you come up with your own sturdy summer writing plan:
· Have a designated writing time. I plan to get up early and write before the kids crawl out of bed.
· Shorten your writing time. You will most likely not be able to write for multiple hours each day. Aim for 20 minute miracles.
· Fly by the seat of your pants. Grab those quiet moments. If your kids are contently playing or reading, seize 20 minutes. These are bonus moments, though, on top of your designated time and no resentment is allowed if you are interrupted.
· Do shorter projects, like picture books, or work on the behind the scenes stuff, like character maps or world building.
· Work on organizational tasks, like
o Filing those conference notes
o Marking submission dates for editors and agents on a calendar
o Researching agents
o Organizing your work space
o Planning a submission schedule
o Rethinking your yearly goals
· Work on query letters and pitches. HINT: Do not send any queries out with children underfoot. Tragic mistakes are made this way. Save all send-button clicking for your designated (quiet!) writing time
· Read for research. Summer is quintessential reading time. Dive into possible mentor texts; submerge yourself in your genre; treasure-hunt for comp. titles.
And give yourself permission to relax. To hug little ones close. To play. Because we are, after all, kid people.
How will you modify your goals to leave room for Summer fun?
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