I finished my finals last week and now it is officially summer! I’ve been out of school for a couple of years, which isn’t a long time, but it still feels wonderful to honor that long lost summer vacation once again. We’ve had warm days in Colorado, flowers are blooming, I’m taking a vacation to Maine soon, and although I’m working I don’t have to start until June. Feels like lemonade and easy reading and the smell of sunscreen. And oh, how I could use an ocean.

...this ocean.

The ironic thing about summer, or any vacation in grad school, is that extremely non-vacationy plan to be productive. I think my colleagues and I all feel like if we have any time without classes and teaching, we should be using that time to work on our writing. Still, exhaustion sets in. We don’t accomplish enough and we feel semi-guilty and the fight to write continues throughout the semester in a never-ending cycle of too little time.

I am not, like some more ambitious and organized writers I know, planning to start/finish a novel this summer. I’m just not there yet. But I would like to write three new stories for the coming semester, revise several that I’ve already written, and submit to journals or prepare submissions for the fall. I have an entire shelf of books to read by August, and a growing list of new releases as well. I plan to revise my teaching curriculum with all-new readings. And I’m already wondering, between work, sleep, and friends, how much of this is going to happen.

In the end, though I do work hard on my writing, I also have to be realistic and strive for balance in my life. So I have to have some goals for my Colorado social calendar too. This summer, I want to go camping and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, swim in a lake, ride a horse, take my guitar out of its case, and see a concert at Red Rocks.

What are your summer plans? How do you balance writing and life?


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