Survival Tips for Writers with Kids

Hi, P. J. Hoover here, and today I’m talking about transitions. There are so many directions I could take this: the transition of a book about to be released, the transition between chapters in a book. But I’m going to go for the very sensible transition as the summer solstice approaches:

The transition into summer

During the school year my kids are in school which is all great and provides me some semblance of a normal schedule. But when summer starts, everything changes. All of a sudden, the kids are home with me most of the time. Our evenings are scattered, and activities like baseball and football start to fall off the calendar. And most days, the kids want to grab their friends and head to the pool.

What is a writer to do? There are so many things that need to be done, from writing new words to preparing for a book release. From taking care of stuff around the house to packing for vacations.

Here are five basic summer survival tips for those writers who have kids:

1) Embrace the video games

Maybe this sounds horrible, but my kids get two hours of video games a day. These two hours become my golden writing time. I tell them I’m busy in my office and that they should do their very best to take care of themselves.

2) Multitask

Heading to the pool? I bring my laptop along and take it as the perfect opportunity to get some blog posts done. If I copy interview questions into a Word doc ahead of time, I don’t even need WiFi.

3) Wake early

It’s worth it. This quiet time around the house can be used for checking email, exercising, or writing. Whatever the case, find that silence and live just a moment in it.

4) Set expectations

Make a list of every daily activity you want to get accomplished, and do the same for your kids. Make a list of everything you expect them to do each day. Things like (1) be active, (2) work on math, (3) reading, etc. Setting the expectations ahead of time will encourage them to get those things marked off their list.

5) Have fun

It’s summer. Take some time to chat by the pool or head to the park. It’s not all about the work. Those days with your children will soon be gone.

*****

P. J. Hoover is the author of the upcoming dystopia/mythology YA book, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 2013), the upcoming Egyptian mythology MG book, TUT (Tor Children’s, Winter 2014), and the middle-grade SFF series, THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS BOOKS (CBAY, 2008-2010). You can read more about her and her books on P. J.’s website or blog.

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About P. J. Hoover

P. J. Hoover is the author of the upcoming dystopia/mythology YA book, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 18, 2013), the upcoming Egyptian mythology MG book, TUT (Tor Children's, 2014), and the middle-grade SFF series, THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS BOOKS (CBAY, 2008-2010). You can read more about her and her books on P. J.'s website or blog.

14 thoughts on “Survival Tips for Writers with Kids

  1. Since I have a day job, my son is in day care during the week. However, it’s always hard to entertain him on Saturdays while my husband’s at work. I definitely agree with #2, #3, and #5!

  2. My hat’s off to all of you with kids. I don’t know how you do it. I hope you take full advantage of #5, though–I have to do that (summer in Maine is so fleeting, and the rest of the year is SO LONG) even without kids.

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