What summer means to me is, well, a lot of different things… but most notably to my world of books, it simply means less writing. There are a few reasons for that, but it doesn’t mean I’m not writing at all. It just means something which takes me a month to do in the winter, may now take me all summer.
You may be wondering what it is I’m doing instead of writing, or you may not care at all. I’m fine either way, but maybe you might learn something new about me if I tell you the whys. There are quite a few of them, most of them having to do with it being warm out!
Road construction. Now, that might seem like a strange reason to some, but it makes perfect sense in my world. My husband works on a road construction crew. For those of you who don’t know, I live in Minnesota, just north of the Twin Cities. Which means, for us, road construction begins as soon as it’s warm and dry-ish out in the spring until the snow is too deep or the temperatures get too cold to work on those roads. What that means for me is my hubby is laid off in the winter months (5-6 months at a time) where he is the primary keeper of the house, chef, and child shuttle! Don’t worry, I still help, but he does most of it.
In the winter, there are more hours of my day dedicated to writing and writing-related stuff, sometimes I even get like 4 hours. In the summer, because here in Minnesota we have to squash as much of that construction into 6-7 months, the hubby oftentimes works 6 days a week, leaving before I’ve started my day at 6am, and not returning until 7 or 8 in the evening—sometimes even later. That means in the warmer months, you guessed it, I take on alllllll the stuff he primarily does during the winter.
Longer daylight hours. There are a few things tied in to this, but it mostly has to do with bedtimes and yard work. During this time of year, the sun is still up when my kiddos are used to going to bed in the winter. We just simply stay up later, generally because we’re outside and lose track of time. My primary writing hours happen when my kiddos go to bed, so if they’re hitting the pillow an hour later, I’m not starting my writing until an hour later. I still have to get up at the same time for my day job, regardless of what season it is, so my bedtime stays the same, leaving me with an hour to write at night. And frequently, that writing just doesn’t happen. If I’ve been outside working in my yard or gardens, there’s usually a shower to take, laundry to fold, and a kitchen to clean up before I sit down to write—putting me close to bedtime.
Yard and gardens. If you haven’t heard me mention it before, you’re going to learn about it now—I love gardening! I’ve probably got more gardens than I can really handle, along with a few acres of yard to manage. This means every waking hour there is daylight and it’s not raining (and I don’t have to work my day job), I’m outside planting, mowing, weeding, or doing some other random thing to tame nature. I’m not a huge fan of wintertime activities, so I’m basically stuck inside for half the year. I want to be outside when it’s warm out!
Lastly, there’s traveling. Nope, I’m not talking about family vacations. I’m talking about traveling for signings, conventions, and work. It is pretty common for most of the book-world signings and conventions to be scheduled during the warmer months. I wish more of them were during the half the year when my hubby is laid off, because then maybe I could attend more of them. There are a few, but most of them require air travel, because who wants to come to Minnesota when it’s cold? Because most of these events coincide with construction season and those loooooong hours hubby is putting in, that means I’ve got to make arrangements for someone to do overnight care for my kiddos to get them to and from daycare. It’s a pain. While I do have some reliable options for said overnight childcare, those end up being once-a-summer favors. If anyone has been following my schedule of events, you may have noticed I’ve dropped a few for this year, and things are looking pretty sparse for next year—mostly due to the difficulty of securing child care.
Really, what I’m trying to say is here’s my list of excuses for why you may not see me around as much on social media, my responses to emails might be delayed, and it might be a few months after summer before you see something new come from me. I’m working on a project right now… but I’ll have to tell you about that in a different post. This one is long enough as it is!