In November of last year, I tried for the third time to take part in NaNoWriMo with no avail. I failed miserably like I had the two years prior. At the end of the month from hell, I determined that I was going to write during the summer when things were less hectic.
My Reasoning: The schools School Aged Child Care program (SACC) was too expensive to enroll them for the entire summer. Hiring a sitter for a couple hours a day posed less of a financial burden, but there would still be interruptions. My kids don’t understand “Leave me alone. I’m working.” Vacation Bible School solved a lot of my problems. It would entertain the kids for a couple hours while providing supervision, and the best part, it’s completely free, if you don’t count the dollar a night per kid for offering. With 65+ churches in a 20 mile radius of my house (not even an over-exaggeration), it was probable to have them in a different VBS every week throughout the summer.
My Failure: Lack of thorough planning. The churches around this area place banners at every street corner a week or two in advance announcing their VBSs date and time. I figured I’d keep my eyes open for a banner, and *boom* I found my free childcare for that week.
I headed into summer pumped and ready for action. The first week of summer, I was going to be busy helping at my own church’s VBS – MegaSports Camp – and then I would be free for the next six weeks do write, write, write!
The Devil, as we all know, is in the details. What I didn’t anticipate, and could have been avoided had I done a little upfront planning, was that three of the other churches that I was counting on taking my kids to also had their vacation Bible schools that same week.
But… but… but… didn’t they know that I had planned to write those weeks? Didn’t they know I needed them to take turns having their VBS for the next three weeks? How inconsiderate!
My plan failed the first three weeks of June, but the month wasn’t a complete wash. An area church ran it’s VBS Sunday through Thursday of this past week, and then kids went the first two days. It was wonderful. I had the evenings to myself and actually got some ideas down on paper. I forgot to inform my husband of my grand scheme, so his wanting to take the kids to Monsters University (which was adorable) on his evening off threw a wrench in the works. I conceded because we get very little family time.
I know. I’m a giver. 😉
So what have I learned so far this summer?
- Call the area churches a week or two prior to the end of school and find out when they are having VBS. It’s so simple it’s almost frightening.
- Plan out the entire summer. With something as important as making time for myself to write, I can’t believe I was so cavalier to just wing it. I keep a day planner which details every family members schedules, so filling in the gaps with summer camps and VBS would have been a cinch. Yes, I’m slapping my forehead. Repeatedly.
- Fill in the gaps with area summer camps by using websites like MySummerCamps.com. Local colleges, universities and community colleges usually have summer camp offerings posted on their website. Your local newspaper may also have a summer camp search engine like The Commercial Appeal’s.
- Have projects organized into order of importance prior to school ending. All winter I’ve been researching court documents, taking notes, talking to my phone’s voice recorder, and transcribing recorded notes into Word. I’ve also been jotting down plot ideas, skits to songs, and ideas for blog posts. Having them organized by order of importance is crucial. There is no time wasted trying to decide which project to work on first because it’s there waiting for you.
Although most people who know me think I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl, truth be told, I’m a planner. I’m flighty so I have to have a plan with steps to complete or nothing gets finished. I’m a list person, but I very seldom accomplish my list.
With all that being said, I understand that not everyone works the same way I do.
What is your secret for making time to write?