Saturday, July 06, 2013
Write at Home Mom: Donna Alward
It's school holidays.
While it's the hap hap happiest time of the year for kids in this hemisphere, those two words cause mixed feelings in my world. On one hand, most of my driving to activities has slowed to a dull roar. It's summer, a time of barbecues, pina coladas and floating in the pool. Flowers blooming, lush grass, sunsets. Longer days, trips to museums, campfires.
I love my children. I also love my husband - who teaches college so is also home ALL SUMMER. And so when I make my deadlines, I normally build in a "lighter" summer - so I can keep up with work but don't have a lot of pressure. Sort of...if I want to work, I can, but if it's a great sunny day and we want to take off for a few days, I can do that too.
But I couldn't do that this year. When certain opportunities come your way, you simply have to say yes. And believe me, I'm planning PLENTY of downtime for next summer. My very last deadline is July 1, 2014.
I have two projects on the go at the moment. The first is TREASURE AT LILAC LANE, which is the second in my Jewell Cove series for St. Martins Press and due July 31. The second project is a continuity book for Harlequin American, which is due September 1. Needless to say I do not have a lot of flexibility in my schedule.
So the trick is...how do I keep the kids (and husband!) occupied so I can work while still leaving us time to recharge over the summer?
The kids, now that school is out, are part of a great Youth Leadership program in our community. For under $100 for both of them, they get First Aid training, several other "Leadership" courses, spend hours volunteering in the community, and have at least three "socials" that sound awesome... roller skating, laser tag, and a day at the beach anyone?
It's a fantastic program. My youngest is in level 1, so does 20 volunteer hours in addition to her training. My eldest is level 3, so she does 50 hours, and next year she can apply for a staff position. I get them out of the house and they get on-the-job experience AND the benefit of volunteering in our community.
Of course, there's still ample time for us to take afternoons to float in the pool (especially if I've had a peaceful morning to write!), or make s'mores over the fire, or take off for a day trip to a museum.
It took a bit of organizing on my part but I think we've hit a strategy that works! And next year? I'm planning a family vacation. We'll all have earned it!
Donna's newest book is A COWBOY TO COME HOME TO, book 4 in her Cadence Creek Cowboys series. You can catch up with her on her website at www.donnaalward.com.