Life Coach Magazine

Writer…Interrupted By Summer

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

SummerSchool has been out for a couple of weeks and I’m THRILLED that for a short season I’m free from all the trappings of the school year. For the next couple of months, I won’t have to:

  • help with any Algebra homework
  • drag any children out of bed
  • scrounge through the kitchen to find something at least partially nutritious to pack in a lunch box
  • hit DEFCON 1 over a missing pair of shoes
  • send money in an envelope and wonder where it ended up
  • sign a single permission slip, homework folder, or reading log
  • wonder what’s going on at school that my kids forgot to tell me
  • help with any Algebra — seriously, it’s worth mentioning twice. By the end of May, I nearly wanted to dig my own grave and crawl right in, just to get some relief.

While I’m ecstatic about this newfound freedom, having the kids home every day makes reaching my writing goals a bit tougher. I want my kids to feel like I’m actually present with them, not just locked away in another room, bent over the keyboard, and available only if someone’s arm has fallen off or the house is on fire. They only get one childhood, and I want them to look back on their summers at home and remember that I was there.

But I also need to get some stuff done. Laundry, for example. And a novel.

So, I’ve adopted a mantra for the summer: Serve my family, serve my dream.

Each day, I intentionally carve out time and identify specific ways I can serve my family well, and also serve my dream well. My day job schedule varies, so this looks different for me every day. It may mean I need get up and write before everyone else in the house is awake, so I can spend the rest of the day on a fun activity with the kids. Or it may be that I have to go work the day job, then need to do a load (or ten) of laundry and cook a decent meal when I get home, so writing happens at night. (Some writers have a set routine of getting up at 5:00am every day to get their word count in. If this is you, BRAVO! I am not one of these people. I’ve tried it. It does more harm to my writing than good, and it just makes me cranky. We each have to find our own process.)

Here’s how I determine what each day looks like:

Pray – I ask the Lord to show me the most important things of the day. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” I want to live out God’s purposes for my life, and I think it’s safe to assume He wants that for me, too. So when I ask Him to show me His plans for my day, He’s happy to oblige.

Prioritize – I’m not a huge list maker, but in this season, the to-do list has proven to be a really helpful tool. I list everything from writing projects to errands, then mark the most important items. The most important ones, not necessarily the most urgent. (For more info on urgent vs. important, check out this article). Every task on the list will not get done each day, and that’s okay. I do what I can and come back to the other things the next day.

Be Flexible - Even after prioritizing and attempting to tackle the list, there are days when unexpected things pop up. Some of those things are fun (an invitation to go swimming with some friends) and some are difficult (a loved one was just rushed to the hospital), but they all demand attention. In those moments, I’m usually tempted to stay focused on my to-do list so I can feel productive, instead of spending time with the people God has placed in my life. But this summer, I’ve felt really convicted to place people above productivity, which means I’ve had to be extremely flexible with my plans and lists. Sometimes, I have to just let the list go, which is not easy for me. But in being obedient, I’ve found that God is faithful to give me the time and energy to accomplish what truly needs to be done, and the grace to release the rest.

Serve my family, serve my dream.

How about you? How do you balance serving the people in your life and serving your writing dream?

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