Figuring Out Summer


Ah… summer should be relaxing.

Happy Monday to you. I hope you had a great Fourth of July weekend and are ready to get right back in there.

I’m in the process of figuring out how summer is going to work for me. I’ve taken on the commitment of writing a thousand words a day. While my kids were in school, that was relatively easy to get done consistently (or makeup if I didn’t). But now that school is out for summer and I’m back from vacation, I’m finding it harder to keep up. I’m having lots of fun with the kids, so good memories and all. But, I’d also like to get a bit more done, as it seems my ToDo list is growing by leaps and bounds. I had a notice on my calendar that I was to send out ARC copies for Third Life. Only, it’s not ready yet, so that’s not getting done.

My plan right now is to take a deep breath, try to chill, and realize that summer is just not going to be as productive as the rest of the year. I’m going to do my thousand words, as I think that’s important. But, everything else is going to be up for grabs.

I’ve tentatively set a goal of accomplishing three things on my ToDo list each day. And I can’t cheat. The three things I accomplish have to be necessary but somewhat optional (as in, if I didn’t do them, I’d go to jail). So feeding my children cannot count as an item I check off the ToDo list. Buying toilet paper (if there is only one roll in the house) doesn’t count either.  However, buying toilet paper in advance of the critical stage counts, as I’m ahead of the game.

Three things seems doable, especially since I’m not even requiring they be writing related (cleaning the house counts, as that’s completely optional). Having a water-gun fight with the kids (while optional) doesn’t count (though, that’s probably why I’m not getting a whole lot done).  The goal is to get things accomplished that are beyond the minimal I need to survive my everyday life (so grocery shopping doesn’t count, but making a meal plan for the week would–as that should save me time, but isn’t necessary, as I’m always able to scramble together marshmallow-covered hot dogs at the last minute. 🙂 [OK, that was seriously a joke. That actually sounds fairly disgusting.])

So, how is your summer going so far? Easier or harder to get things done with all the sunny weather and people talking about their great vacations (or vacation plans)? Any tips for me?

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at
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6 Responses to Figuring Out Summer

  1. DV Berkom says:

    Gah. Summer is such a hard time to concentrate…my parents are here until mid-October and there’s the beach and the garden and crabbing and kayaking and parties and dinners and, and, and. BUT I’ve given myself a superficial deadline of getting the next book out in the fall (yeah, it’s probably gonna be LATE fall…) and I really hate missing my pretend deadlines 🙂 I told myself that this summer I was going to ENJOY people and events and, you know, summer instead of freaking out if I don’t get something written on a certain day. My blog has been a series of reblogs and the idea of new content beckons…BUT.

    So all this is to say, sorry, RJ. I got nothin’. No tips. But, you sound like you’re pretty darned organized–way more than I am. And I’ve got a sneaking suspicion spending time with your kids will end up being one of the best parts of summer. I’d skip the marshmallow covered hotdogs, though 😀

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Sounds like you’ve got a pretty full summer yourself. And I think my plan to be organized sounds better than it’s worked execution wise. Though, I am trying. And I definitely do not plan to eat marshmallow-covered hot dogs 🙂 (though, we know all know what happens to the best laid plans).

  2. I agree with Charlie. I seem to lose track of the distinction between ‘all’ writing and ‘book’ writing. Even so, I’ve lost momentum due to all the ado around my daughter’s wedding. I need to get back in the saddle. Summer is more difficult because I have a big garden which I love to spend time in and we socialize more. Gotta get back in the groove. Good luck with yours and enjoy your summer.

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Oh, yes, big events like weddings and vacations make it hard to get stuff done. Summer may just be a tough time to get stuff done indoors. While our minds tell use we ought to be doing certain things, I think our bodies, on the most instinctual, biological level, yearn to be outdoors and enjoying the weather. Good luck with your garden and staying on track writing.

  3. Charles Ray says:

    Good luck with 1 K a Day. It seems hard, but if you include all writing, it’s really rather easy. What I find difficult is writing 1,000 ‘publishable’ words per day.

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Thanks. The 1k a day is going pretty well so far, and I am definitely including blog posts/everything I write. I find that doing that tends to encourage me to write up blog ideas I have more quickly. I used to just stick them in a file. Now, since I know I have to make that count, I just go ahead and start writing the blog. As for a thousand publishable words, that’d be pretty hard. It takes time to polish things. Plus, you have to let it sit and gel for a bit before you’re ready to hit publish–at least I do.

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