Dealing With School Holidays When You're A Writer

If you're the parent of school-aged children, like me, you'll know that February half-term is just around the corner. Yes, another school holiday, and that can mean only one thing - restricted time for writing. It's tough getting anything done when the boys are on school holidays but getting quiet time for writing is almost non-existent. That's not to say it's impossible, there are ways I sneak time for writing. Here's how I deal with school holidays...

Plan activities for the school holidays

As with most things planning makes life easier. If your priority is to get time for writing while the kids are at home then you need to plan in activities that will keep them busy while you write. 

Dealing With School Holidays When You're A Writer | Taking your kids to activities could give you time for writing.
Activity days can give you time for writing.

I have two boys, the eldest is 15 and the youngest is 10, and I usually plan something they can do so I have time for writing. My eldest usually plans his own activities, he's at that age where he'd much rather spend time with his friends. My youngest has to have activities planned for him so he doesn't get bored. The great thing is there are lots of activities to plan. In Nottingham there's always something going on during school holidays. Universities plan interesting days, various clubs hold activity days, and there's always friends to turn to if you're short of ideas.

Take your Writing with you

Whenever you go anywhere during the school holidays take your writing with you. Whether we're visiting family, taking the boys to activities, or staying home to let the boys watch a movie, I have my writing with me. My Macbook has access to my draft novel and I can write anywhere as long as I have wifi. Sometimes it can be difficult to write when there's lots of noise but you have to work with what's possible don't you? 

Let them play games during the school holidays

Video games. Some people say they're evil, that they need to be banned or restricted so kids don't have access. Some people say they're not so bad, and they're just a way for kids to have a little fun. If I'm honest I'm more in the second camp than the first, but I do restrict my boys' access to some video games, especially the ones that are inappropriate. 

Dealing With School Holidays When You're A Writer | Letting your kids play video games is not a bad thing.
Games can be fun, and even good for your kids!

My youngest is not allowed to play games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto V, but he is allowed to play Fortnite and Overwatch. My eldest doesn't play games as much as he used to and has tried old Call of Duty games but even at 15 we won't let him play Grand Theft Auto V, there's just too much within that game that is inappropriate.

As a parent, and the wife of someone who has worked in the video games industry for more than 20 years, I know that I need to supervise my boys' when they're playing games. I need to make sure the games they play are appropriate and they're not exposed to material that could harm them. I also know there are plenty of games for them to play, they can have fun while chatting to friends and that is a good thing. Video games are not evil, as long as you do your job as a parent.

Movies will give you time for writing

If you're desperate for writing time there's one easy solve - movies. Either buy a new movie or let them watch one of their old favourites. Make sure you have lots of snacks for them, drinks are on hand so they don't have to interrupt you, and get them to sit and watch a movie.

Dealing With School Holidays When You're A Writer | Allowing the kids to watch movies will let you get writing done.

Most movies take at least 1.5 hours to watch, which gives you a good amount of time to get a little writing done. I love getting my boys to watch movies, particularly the longer ones like The Hobbit, when I need to get some writing done. I make sure they have plenty of popcorn and drinks and sit them down to watch then I head into my office where I can write for a couple of hours. 

Working at home can be a struggle, but even during the school holidays there are ways to get time for writing. As your kids get older it gets easier to occupy them, especially when they're making their own plans. Of course there's always the option of taking the entire week off and coming back to your writing when the kids go back to school - a break can actually do you good.

As a writer, how do you deal with school holidays?

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