School’s Out! A Writer-Teacher’s Summer Dream Routine

sun_in_shades.svg.hiSchool is out! This is my first week of summer break and I have a few goals–writing goals, household goals, and learning how-to-play goals.

Being the orderly list-maker that I am (Ha! When it comes to things I need to do, my brain has colander-size holes), I created a little daily routine to keep me on track. What does it look like? Funny you should ask. Here it is, sans pretty, flowery clip art:

1 hour: Mocha/Breakfast/Read  (Hey, I know how to start a day!)

Read Bible

Stretch/Dress/Tidy Bedroom (So far the only thing I’ve skipped is stretching.)

Empty Dishwasher/Make Phone Calls (I am blessed with a husband who does the dishes.)

Pray/Copy 1 Prayer into Personal Prayer Book (I’m ashamed to say I have not got on my knees yet, although I have tossed up a lot of little balloon prayers and brainstormed a prayer list.)

2 Hours: Write  a) prepare for writers’ groups, b) enter revisions for Set in Stone, c) do a one-day read through of Set in Stone, d) continue to draft A Crown of Blossom and Flame or–hmmm, maybe I’ll retitle it A Fiery Crown.)

Type 3 Quotes (I have a stack of books nearly 3 feet tall bristling with sticky notes marking quotations I would like to capture–I haven’t gotten to this even once this week.)

Blog or Respond to Email (30 minutes MAX)

Update Agent List (I have been collecting agent names for The Swallow’s Spring for so long now, I could easily send her out to an agent a week for at least the next ten years.)

Housework~Routine Housework (Yes, at last I get there. Have I done this yet? No, except Monday, I did vacuum up the dust on the bathroom floor.)

Manuscript Submissions Swallow/Set in Stone at least once per week (This one actually does not begin until I hear from the person I gave an exclusive for Swallow and do the final read-through of Set in Stone.

Mend one item (My mending pile now fills two milk crates to overflowing. Needless to say, I have not done any mending in a long, long time, and I am beginning to miss some favorite clothes. As I complete this task, if I stick to the routine, it will be like getting five new pieces of clothing/week. Have I done it yet? No. I plan to start next week.)

1/2 Hour MAJOR House Project~a) finish reorganizing my office–I started twice during the school year; my office now lies strewn between 4 rooms–talk about crazy making! b) turn our kids’ bathroom into my bathroom now that the last kid has moved out–finally I will have a bathtub! c) organize my craft room. Whew!

Small Office or Writing Project 20 minutes. (Working on picture books and poetry, sorting card making materials, rubber stamps, punches…)

20 Minutes: Craft Room (Did I say my craft room was a mess?)

Make one card ahead of time for the next year (this will be both duty and letting myself have a little fun)

Do Something Creative (Will I remember how?)

Oh, and that learning to play thing? That happens when my husband says, “Hey, let’s go…” We did that Monday, Wednesday, and today.

Well, I’ve already spent 41 minutes preparing this blog post. Time to go. What are you dreaming of doing this summer?


Play With Your Words Writing Prompt 82: Fortune Cookie Writing Prompts

Fortune Cookie Writing PromptsPlay With Your Words Writing Prompts

This afternoon, as usual on a Sunday after church, we went out to lunch. Today, it was Chinese food, and my husband did what he always does after eating Chinese food out–he cracked open his fortune cookie and handed his fortune to me. You see, we have both come to realize that fortune cookie fortunes make great writing prompts.

How to use them?

You can craft a story where the fortune predicted occurs to the main character. What does this character want? How could this fortune come true for her? How would it impact his life? How would it impact the lives of those around her?

You can “dream journal”– How could this fortune come true for you? How would it impact your life? How would it impact the lives of those around you?


Take a few minutes and list or web ideas.


Choose one idea from your list and write.

Writing fiction? Then write at least one scene showing the character before the fulfillment of the fortune, at the moment of fulfillment, and at least one of the impacts of that change.

Writing your dreams? Write how the fulfillment of the “fortune” would come about, its impact your life, and its impact the lives of those you care about.


When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners.

This Week’s Fortunes

Mine: “An unexpected windfall will be yours.”

My husband’s: “Your choices at the moment will be good ones. Trust yourself.”

My Most Visited Writing Prompt Ever: The Essence of Summer Poetry Haiku

wooded path 7.13Capture the essence of summer by writing a haiku…


Think about several of your outdoor experiences this summer. Select 3 –5 of these settings and jot them down on a piece of paper. For each, web or brainstorm:

  • How it looked—what was there? What was the light like? What colors were prominent…
  • How it sounded—What did you hear? Animals, wind, people, water…
  • How it felt—What was the temperature? Was the air moist or dry? Was there a wind or was the air still? Did you touch anything? What did it feel like?
  • How it smelled—Was it briny like the ocean, or moist like a rain forest? What were the natural smells of the environment?
  • How did it taste? I know, you probably did not go walking around tasting everything you saw, but smells have a taste element to them as well.

Look over the information you have collected and choose an image to focus on in you haiku.


The most simplistic American haiku form is the 5-7-5 pattern we were all taught in school. (5 syllables for the first line, 7 syllables for the second line, 5 syllables for the last.) However, these are only guidelines. You can choose to vary your syllables and their spread over the three lines, as long as you maintain a balanced pattern and keep the haiku under the total 17 syllables. The key is to reduce your haiku to the least number of syllables possible without losing its impact or meaning.


Read your haiku to your writing partners or post it here on the blog. Compliment one another on the spare beauty of your poems.

And please, again I encourage you to share here. Asthma, allergies, and job hunting have kept me indoors too much this summer. I would be so grateful to sample summer’s natural world through your wonderful haikus.

It’s a new summer!

The graduation ceremonies are winding down, I haven’t had to wear socks for weeks, and this next Friday will be the last day of school. Go somewhere you love, soon, and write some summer haiku’s.