What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Susan MermaidThe joy of being a school librarian:  I’ve made it all the way to summer!  Yippee!  Twelve weeks of nothing!  No commute, no kids, no bells, no bag lunches!  Nothing! What could be better?

What could be worse?  I have twelve weeks of nothing, and I know exactly what can go wrong:

  • Summer  can be wasted.  On Twitter, Facebook, shopping (especially shopping!), lazing by the pool, etc. Friends call it “the time to relax that you need/want/yearn for.”  I call it “time wasted.”
  • Time can be stolen, even though I agreed to the theft.  I will fly to Saint Louis next week and listen to several days of educational conference material.  But I want to learn something, so that’s good.  And I am happy for the bridal showers, baby showers, weddings, and other celebrations.  Still, it is theft.
  • I will need additional time, once I return, to recover my writing mojo.  So far, I’ve started well, but I’m aware that all interruptions have an additional price.
  • I work better wclutterith deadlines.  In fact, I’m missing two at this moment:  getting my Mermaid post up in a timely manner, when I should have drafted it last night, or even last week. And sending my WRW retreat prize submission to Gail Barrett, who kindly agreed to look at my synopsis and chapter today.
  • A house filled with clutter is a time thief.  I spend precious time looking at and worrying about the clutter on my dining room table.  Why don’t I just clear it off, you ask?  Because I might need that!  (Case in point:  I suddenly feel compelled to take a particular basket and stow it in another room, so I don’t have to look at it.).

Clutter = Thief!

Aware of these pitfalls, I also know that I write more efficiently when I am sequestered.  I’ve posted before about how I enjoy working on my writing when riding to work on the train.  Peter and I drove to Philadelphia over the weekend to a niece’s bridal shower.


I brought writing tools with me and spent the time – three hours back and forth – planning the synopsis that is now late.  But I used the six hours (well, four of them, probably)!  I thought, wrote, planned, talked and told my story to my captive audience as we rode along the New Jersey Turnpike.  It was productive in very much the same way as my train rides to the Bronx.


I’m also reminded of sister Mermaid Pintip’s recent post on making her own home-based retreat.  I need to find that RWR article, and Pin’s Mermaid follow-up, and craft my own ongoing retreat.  The public library is only a mile from home, and it does NOT have books and papers and outdated statements littering a dining room table.

Once upon a time, I got up and dressed and sat down at my computer (an Osborne!) at 9 a.m. every weekday.   This was in the early 1980s, when Peter and I planned our lives so we could afford my career as a full-time writer.  I worked three hours, broke for lunch, then allowed myself to do housework, groceries, whatever was needed to keep the house and our married life comfortable.

Those were good years… can I find that discipline again?  Or have the years of child-rearing, illness, graduate school and career stolen that urge?  Can I get it back?  And can I forgive myself if the quest proves impossible?

Reflecting on all of these ideas, I want to do certain things this summer in order to hit my own expectations for a successful vacation:

  • Schedule my writing sessions as I used to, once upon a time
  • Claim my space
  • Celebrate the milestones
  • Forgive the rough patches that slow or stop me.

What rough patches do you anticipate this summer?  Will you celebrate when September comes?



About Susan Jeffery

I am loving the challenge (sometimes) of re-entering the contemporary romance market after a lifetime of raising two fantastic children (it never ends, btw). Just when I thought I was done with kids, I accepted a position as librarian to 900 boys in a Bronx private school. I'm a vintage published author, Harlequin American #206 Fair Game (1987). Winner of the Golden Heart, 1986. Currently exploring the possibility of indie publishing under my new pseudonym (see fresh name, above).

6 thoughts on “What I Did on My Summer Vacation

  1. Clutter does in fact = thief!!! I hate clutter and it’s one of the main reasons I haven’t been able to write at home. I still have ton of it from moving. (I also don’t have a comfortable writing space yet. But give it time….)

    Good luck, Susan-Mermaid!

  2. Thank you, Kerry! I agree, clutter is a time-thief. I subscribe to FlyLady and she writes extensively about the challenge of clutter. In fact, immediately after reading your reply, I did five minutes of clearing the dining room table!

  3. Hi Susan Mermaid, I liked getting a tiny peek into your abode! Glad you shared that pic. I’ve made a deal with the kiddo that for one hour each day this summer, he will do his reading/playing and I will do my writing without interruptions (you know, as long as it’s not life threatening). So theoretically, I should be able to produce 1,000 words a day over the summer. In two months, that equals a first draft of a novel, which I will absolutely celebrate come September! I think your daily writing schedule sounds really good and I hope you get back to it!

    1. Thank you, Carlene, for your response! A thousand words a day is a great target, and very do-able! I like this idea, and might just borrow it for my own work. I’m so easy to distract, that’s a big problem, too! I didn’t have these problems when there was no internet…

  4. Susan, glad you are working with Gail! She is awesome!
    But like you…the clutter is crazy! I’m weeding through 18 years of stuff in this house but waiting on oldest dd to possibly move into her own place this summer before ‘weeding-out’. So much to do when all I want to do is write. Never ending housework and paperwork are my issues and trying to get my other daughter to clean is impossible.

    Cheers to school being out and ‘finding time to write’!

  5. Yes, Loni, I’ve been twenty years in this house, with thirty-three years of marriage. Sheesh, it’s a lot of junk that is treasured beyond reason. But I did clear eighteen inches of space today, and I’m encouraged to keep trying. As soon as I post this, I’m also going to return to writing…

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