1) Answering questions! Like: Can we spray paint in the house? Can we jump on the bed? Why does the cat's skin look so funny when you cut the hair off it? Where are my shoes? Why can't I have candy? Why is it SO HOT outside? Are you done writing yet? Why do we have to take a bath? What's for dinner? What's that? EWWWW! (Not a question, but still requires an answer)
2) Cleaning up after kids! Like: spray paint in the house, beds that look like buffalos stampeded them, cat hair all over the carpet, shoes mysteriously behind the washing machine, candy stuck in hair, bathrooms with an inch of water in the floor and a bunch of towels, dirty dishes, etc.
3) Researching your book! Including: No, don't come look at my computer. I know it made noise, but DO NOT come look. Get out of my room. What do you mean, why do those men have no clothes on? It's a movie trailer. About men. No, I don't know if there are any princesses in it. No, it's not Disney. It's called Magic Mike. No, there are no wizards. No, that isn't Harry Potter. Well, it's very hot where they work and they took their clothes off. Yes, like I do when I get a hot flash. Look, you really need to go spray paint the cat now so I can get back to work.
4) Writing your book! (see items 1-3 for potential interruptions)
5) Writing your book some more!
DAY ONE: The first line. No, honey, Mommy is working today. The first page. Seriously, honey, we all talked about this. I have to work today. The first line again. Kids, I'm really serious now. If you come in here again, no more TV all day. The first chapter. Yes, I know it's lunchtime...fix some cereal. Remember, we had an agreement. If you two want to go to the pool, you have to leave me alone today. The first paragraph of the second chapter. Yes, you can turn on the TV. I was just kidding about no TV. But seriously. Let me work in peace. The next two pages of the second chapter. YOU DID WHAT??? *clean, clean, clean.* The first chapter again, adding a murder on the second page. The first line again. The first paragraph again to foreshadow the murder. The first page again. God, I'm tired of this chapter. Why can't I get focused on it? I suck. I think I'll just skip ahead. The third chapter. No, I'm not taking you to the pool right now. The agreement was to leave me alone ALL DAY, and you haven't exactly kept up your end of the bargain. Oh, quit crying. Guys, quit crying. DO NOT EAT THAT.
DAY TWO: DELETE DOCUMENT. Start again. The first line....
6) Editing your manuscript! Tips include: how to increase the heat in your love scenes when the kids are fighting over action figures behind your recliner; deepening character motivation when the only thing you want to do is hide in your bathroom; and what to do when your little kids get big enough...to read your manuscript over your shoulder.
7) Reading for research and pleasure! Note: since your little kids are big enough to read over your shoulder, you will need to purchase an ebook reader or fancy phone. Note 2: since your little kids also like to play with electronics, you will need to keep your ebook reader or fancy phone out of their reach. Note 3: This will mean your ebook reader and fancy phone can only come out after the kids go to bed. Note 4: Which, in the summer, is hellishly late. Note 5: But you can still crawl into bed after a fun day of writing and fighting and do your pleasure reading then! Note 6: Take out a warranty on your ebook reader or fancy phone, because it may not turn on after the 8th time it slides off the bed while you sleep and into the floor, to be stepped on by the child who gets up at 2 AM to let you know "she's just going to pee...she's not puking...don't worry, Mom."
8) Book shopping! On the list: the next book in your favorite urban fantasy series, that hot NYT bestseller... Hm, what, honey? Yes, there's a nice tie on my book. What's it about? Oh, um, art. You know, all the different versions of grey. No, you can't read it. Yes, I agree, you're a great artist, that's why you don't need to read it. Can you sit down right here and look at...Mommy's fancy phone while I... No, wait, not my Kindle app! Play this game. Yes. Now, where was I?
A debut author's book I heard about on Twitter, an ebook reader clip-on light, a book about dinosaur poop... Hey! Who wrote this on my list? Dad did? Oh, really? I guess we can get it. It is a book. Where was I? Oh.
The latest romance from... No, you can't have that. Put that back. If you break it... Yes, I guess we're buying it. Because it's broken. No, I'm not going to get the one that isn't broken. Yes, I know it's broken, but you broke it. What good will it be for the next kid who wants one? They don't want a broken one either. No, I'm not taking it out of your allowance. You already lost your allowance because you... Oh, Dad gave it to you? Oh, really? Well, maybe he doesn't get this shit book then, because I told him not to. Hush, I know I cussed. Because I'm a grown up and grown ups get to cuss. No, you can't... Stop saying that. Because it's ugly. Look, can you just get the one that isn't broken so we can go?
9) Fun outdoor water activities! Including: Somebody go water the plants. Did you turn off the hose? Somebody go back out there and turn off the hose. There's a what on the handle? A spider? You turned it on, didn't you? Was it there when you turned it on? Just spray it off with the hose...seeing as you left it on and all. How did you get so wet? You're dripping on the hardwood floor, take off your... Yes, I see that, you're Magic Mike. Uh-huh, it was very hot outside, except for the cold water you used to spray yourself and that spider. Did you turn off the hose? Why didn't you... NO NO NO DO NOT GO OUTSIDE NAKED! Come back here!
10) Invigorating family vacations! Favorite location: Grandma's house. I know we went to the beach last year, but this year we're going to Grandma's. Oh, your friend went to Disneyworld? We'll go when you're older. Old enough to drive, probably. And get a job. Ok, I'm kidding, the real answer is never. Why? No, we aren't poor. Because we like having a small house, it's easier to clean. Because you two kids never help Mommy and Daddy clean it, is why it stays dirty. No, it's not because I'm always on the computer. How can I always be on the computer when I'm constantly getting off the computer to do things for you? Grandma has a computer. And a hose. Oh, I think Grandma would love that. It's probably not quite as hot at Grandma's house as it is at our house. No, I don't think Grandma knows who Magic Mike is. Probably. But you never know with Grandma.
Any other writer parents out there with exciting summer stories to share?
http://www.jodywallace.com * http://www.meankitty.com
PS: latest release, Stalking Evan! There is some Magic Miking going on in here too. http://www.jodywallace.com/fiction/stalkingevan.htm