Writing Life: The Summer Slide

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I’m back, y’all! Let the celebratory dancing begin!


When you hear the phrase “summer slide,” it often refers to the amount of things children forget during the typical three month American summer break. Teachers spend nine long months instructing our kids, and they spend three months letting it all leak out through their ears, apparently.

I don’t know about your kids, but my kids are a force to be reckoned with during the summer months. If you’re unfamiliar, I have two children. Scooter, my son, is almost 10, and my daughter Sweet Pea is 6. (Those are their nicknames.) They’re home with me all day, filling their time with the following activities:

  • Eating.
  • Calling my name.
  • Wrestling. (This is especially nice since my daughter is half my son’s size but insists on wrestling him.)
  • Eating.
  • Destroying the house/breaking things. (So far they’ve peeled wallpaper of their bedroom wall and ruined their carpet.)
  • Eating.
  • Begging me to entertain them. (Sure. I can do that. I’m sure my editor doesn’t really want that book.)
  • Screaming (No, there isn’t any good reason for the screaming.)
  • Running and Jumping (Always inside. Outside they become very still. No, I don’t know why.)
  • Eating. (Repetitive? That’s on purpose. My grocery bill quadrupled in June. True story.)
Accurate portrayal of how my kids eat All. Summer. Long.

Accurate portrayal of how my kids eat All. Summer. Long.

I only wish I was exaggerating about the eating. My wallet is MUCH lighter in the summer, just trying to keep up with the constant snacking. I mean, are they training for the ultimate battle royale? Are they trying to see if they can eat until they actually pop? I don’t know, but I’m spending way too much time at the grocery store. It’s a summer slide, alright. A summer slide into debt.

So as you can imagine, the summer slide means something else to me. It means all the writing time I lose during summer break. Ugh. Since I’m under contract and don’t have a choice, I work around them the best way I can.

Falling. Down. Tired.

Me, at the end of a typical summer day with Scooter and Sweet Pea.

  • Early mornings. I’m up before them, which means I’m up before the sun. 4 or 5 AM. Doesn’t that sound fun?
  • Late nights. They’re in bed around 8. I’m up at least til 10-which is late for me since I’m a lark.
  • Writing with them underfoot in my office. I just try to ignore the screaming, giggling, and constant demand for food.
  • Escaping the house ¬†when I can (usually on weekends) to write at the coffee shop or library. During these sessions I regularly turn out three to five thousand words.
  • Using my Livescribe. It’s a pen that lets me write on paper and automatically translates it to typed text,which I can open later on the computer to edit.
  • Using my Alphasmart Neo 2. It’s an old school word processor, no bells, no whistles, no Internet. Distraction free writing = more words.

That’s how I get through the summer. I’m about halfway there now, and I can’t tell you how excited I’ll be when my little *darlings* are back in school. I love them, but spending twelve to fourteen hours with them every day, for five day stretches, is driving me bonkers.

Accurate portrayal of how I feel when school starts.

Accurate portrayal of how I feel when school starts.

Do you have kids? How do you keep them safe and entertained during the summer? Tell me in the comments, because I need all the help I can get.


Until Next Time,