So, my girls have exactly 7 days of school left this year. That means 7 days of writing left for me. Not that I won't write at all this summer, but it won't be the same daily affair that it's been lately. I've been on a mission to get my latest novel done and revised so that I can send my second (or third, or fourth) draft out to my trusted beta readers for feedback. While they have the novel, I'll be hitting up local parks with my kids and trying to read a few of the dozen books sitting on my nightstand waiting for me. I might also try writing a few new short stories. And a screenplay or two.
The truth is, I'm terrified of losing the momentum that I've built up this school year. I'm ready for summer: for play dates and homemade snow cones and sleeping in and no more late-night lunch prep when I just want to go to bed, and no more standing over my kids forcing them to do tedious homework assignments. But I'm also sad to give up my daily block of a few hours to myself, and my guaranteed daily writing time.
My dad and step-mom have graciously offered to watch my girls a couple times a week, for a few hours each time, so that I can have some dedicated writing time. I intend to use that time well. Discipline hasn't really been an issue for me. I work well under pressure. Often, the less time I have, the more effectively I use that time. That's been one of my most important lessons to learn as a writer: carve out the time, and guard it. No phone calls, no internet, no email, no texts. Just write, for however long I can. I'm frequently at the tail-end of my three-hour writing block, watching the clock, counting how many minutes it'll take me to get home to relieve my babysitters, typing those last few words as fast as I can. And that's my happy place, racing the clock with my words.
Two writing breaks a week is a lot less than I've had this school year, but that's exactly what I started with when I got back to writing a few years ago. And at that pace I wrote a novel in four months. Two and a half years later I have five novels plus twenty-something short stories done. They aren't all good, and they won't all make the cut of revision rounds and beta-readers and agent/literary journal submissions. But they all mattered. Every single word, every second of time I gave to myself. I've had nine stories published or accepted for publication, and nine agents are currently looking at one of my novels. It isn't just a dream anymore, this writer thing. It's actually happening. And I don't want to let it go.
I'm almost ready for summer. But first I have 7 more days of writing. And I'm going to make the most of each of them, watching the clock as it gets closer to pick-up time at school, scrambling to get those last few words down before I have to go.