There’s a lake I know
In a nearby park
You and I can go
Take a break and get away—
Lyrics: Take a Break, from Hamilton (If you didn’t recognized them, let’s talk)
Monday I finished my second round of revisions on RETURNING TO CASTAWAY COVE (still haven’t found a title that I love, ugh) and Tuesday I sent the whole shebang to two CPs.
And now, in the wise words of Eliza Hamilton, I’m going to take a break for the summer. There are many layers to this much needed break, and because I love making lists…let me tell you some of them.
*I need to refill my creative well. I’ve been working on one WIP after another, drafting and revising and then beginning again on a new idea. I usually have The Idea that I want to write next before I’ve even finished revising, but not this time. My muse is tired. My fingers are tired. My CPs are probably tired.
*I want to frolic, to splash at the pool, to wade in a creek, to laugh until I cry. My kids are growing so fast, and I don’t want to miss it because I’m stressing about word counts and self-imposed deadlines. And I have been stressing myself…and its reached unhealthy levels. A step back is in order, a few months to breathe and just BE.
*I’m in a reading rut and I want out of it. It’s gotten worse this year than I can ever remember. My tastes are fickle right now. I get a book I just CAN’T wait to read from the library and then it sits on my shelf…and I’m blah about it. This is all compounded by my focus on writing, giving up reading time to draft and revise.
*My husband’s schedule is straight-up bananas this summer. I’m the SAHM, he’s the paramedic/firefighter. When his department has guys out on injury leave or other leave, that means he has to pick up extra shifts. And right now, it’s a lot of extra shifts. And his those shifts are 24-hours, which means he’s gone 4 or more days out of 7. Four complete rotations of the Earth…he’s not home for dinner or bedtime or any of that. Others might be able to juggle all of that solo time and write, and I’ve done it before, but not this summer.
I am EXHAUSTED after spending 14+ hours with two kids, doing summer fun things and feeding them and wiping faces and hands and breaking up fights over every little toy. It doesn’t leave much left over in my brain for writing in the couple hours I have alone in the evening before I fall asleep. More importantly, it doesn’t leave much left over for ME, the person.
My family helps out a lot, but they have lives and wonky work schedules too. Hiring a baby-sitter for a few hours isn’t exactly feasible. My daughter’s peanut and hazelnut allergy means whomever is in charge must understand and respect the severity of food allergies. They have to recognize the signs of a reaction and be prepared to stab a seven-year-old in the leg with a needle to keep her from dying. That’s not something I’m comfortable putting on just anyone.
*Related, my youngest has regularly started boycotting naps. Naptime was my writing time. In those 2-3 hours I would pound out a few thousand words or revise a few chapters. Oh, and also, that was when I kept my sanity. I’m losing that when he boycotts. (both the writing time AND sanity!)
*I suppose some might see this list as Excuses. They might say, “If you want it, you’ll make it happen.” And, that might be true for some people, even true for me at another time. But I also recognize my mental and emotional health, and that takes priority right up there with my family.
*I’ll still be doing a little writing-related stuff as it comes up, revising after receiving notes CPs and (hopefully) beta readers later in the summer. I’m not giving up on this marathon, not at all. I’ll still post random thoughts on Twitter and Facebook and pretty photos on Instagram. But mostly, I’ll be reading and splashing in the pool with my kids and enjoying the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. (If you get that reference, we can be BFFs)