How do you make time for writing in the summer?

I know, I know… summertime is supposed to be that exquisite breath of freedom we waited for all winter. Through grey days of rain, sleet and snow we bemoaned SAD syndrome and blamed work, school, community, church and family commitments for our lack of writing time.

“When summer arrives, I’ll have more time and energy for writing.”

Well, guess what? summer is here, and a graphic from the Environment Canada Weather Office says we can count on sunshine and heat for at least the next week. So how did I spend my first hot day? Not writing. I sat out on the deck with my daughter-in-law, read a bit, talked lots, and watched the little one playing in her paddle pool. But I didn’t write.

That’s the trouble with summertime. In many cases schedules become non-existent and the things we normally would be disciplined about, slip through the inverted time cracks.

In the comments on my Monday postΒ I discovered my fellow Wipsters have some wonderfully ambitious #wipmadness writing goals in mind for July. As the month progresses it will be interesting to see how many of us are able to reach those goals — and how many become victims of summer’s non-schedules.

How will you combat the distractions and/or inertia that often accompany hot weather holiday time , excursions to the beach, bored out-of-school children, and visiting relatives? Do you have a plan for carving out essential time for your writing? Have you tried any of these ideas?

  • Beg an hour’s time from your supportive spouse, letting him take over the children (or garden chores, meal prep, or whatever happens to be demanding your attention) while you sequester yourself in the office and write.
  • Schedule a family afternoon at the beach or pool, but take an extra blanket or lawn chair and sit apart from the rest of the family, putting hubby or a teenager in charge of supervising the younger members while you write.
  • Get away to the library to write by trading an afternoon’s babysitting from a neighbour, family member or friend, in exchange for baking or a home-cooked meal that you can prepare in double quantities another day while you’re making your own.
  • Prepare a ‘Writing on the Run’ kit to grab with your purse and take with you on the way out the door to soccer games, swim club or doctor’s waiting rooms. It can be a zippered case, small tote bag or even a Zip-loc plastic bag… as simple or as fancy as you like… as long as it holds a hard-covered pad of paper, pens and sticky notes. If you’re working on revisions or edits, print out an extra copy for the kit, and include a coloured pen.
  • If you use an eReader, Netbook, or iPad that will allow you to edit a document, convert your manuscript to the appropriate format and have a copy loaded and ready so you can make use of time away from your home computer.

What other ways have you found that allow you to make time for writing when, as my mother used to say, your schedule “gets all shot to pot?”

~ Β ~ Β ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

10 thoughts on “How do you make time for writing in the summer?

  1. I like to write when it’s peaceful and quiet, so I usually do it in the early morning (If I can get up) or late, late at night. πŸ™‚

  2. This is a great post. There are so many things during the summer that distract me. However, I live in Florida where it’s summer “most of the time”, so I can’t really use that excuse. I think for me I need to be more disciplined and just learn to say “no”….I’ll let you know how that works out…..:D

  3. I love writing NOT in the summer because that’s when my 7yo twins are in school and I have the house to myself for hours on end.

    Now that it’s summertime, I have two times I’m able to keep them at bay…in the morning when they are eating I manage to go through my daily emails, and then after they go to bed I write late into the night.

    I’ve found I can’t concentrate as deeply as I need to when they are roaming the house. I’m one to tends to “zone out” while writing, and I can’t do that while they’re awake πŸ™‚

    Christi Corbett

    1. Christi, It was because of klds that I developed the “late at night” syndrome. One of my kids had such sensitive hearing that I couldn’t move across a room in the morning without her knowing I was up and wanting to be up too. Once she was up there was no such thing as a “mommy’s project.” Hence the late nights while all the kids were deep asleep.
      Tori McRae

    2. Great ideas Carol. If I think I’ll have enough time in the car I’ll take a pad of paper or a composition book and pen with me when hubby and I go into town to do errands. While he’s out of the car doing his stuff I’ll sit and write. I came up with the first chapter of my novel that way. On Wednesday (U.S. Independence Day) I took a pad of paper & pen and brainstormed a magazine article while we sat and waited for the fireworks to start.

      Usually, though, I write late at night too. No phones, no dogs needing to go outside to potty (or wanting back in) or hubby wandering through just dieing to tell me something that could have waited.
      Tori McRae

  4. Carol, with my life unfettered in early retirement, I still tend to follow the same patterns I did when I was younger. Whatever the day brings … I tend to do my best writing at night. If I get bogged down with “life” and I miss a couple of nights … I double up by not sleeping πŸ™‚

  5. I have company coming from Manitoba on Monday. Yay, the weather’s gonna be great. Time for writing??? Ha. Oh well, we only get a few days of summer, I can’t complain.

    Happy Summer, Carol. I write after they leave.

  6. I’m glad to hear your views on this. I see several of you are like me in taking advantage of quiet evening hours for your writing. I’m not much of a morning person, so I often work late into the night.

  7. I try to get a bit of writing time in by waking up early. It’s really only about 15-20 extra minutes but I still appreciate the time.. Life is a bit different for me now that it’s just Hubby and I at home. If I decide to let something (like say housework) go, it doesn’t really matter… πŸ˜‰ Great tips, Carol.

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