I’m writing to you poolside from a hotel in Scottsdale, AZ. My family drove down from Colorado last Friday to watch my high school sophomore run in the Nike SW Cross Regional XC race–an annual post-season event for his very talented cross country team. We decided to turn his race into a family vacation this year and stay in the warmth until the kids have to return to school next week.

So, what’s the point of this story, and what does it have to do with writing? Well, the catch is, while I’d love to just hang out at the pool all day, or play volleyball with my daughter, or watch SpongeBob with my seven-year-old, as usual, I have work to do. I promised myself, as always, that I wasn’t going to work over vacation. But, as always, I have no choice. Deadlines loom, and somehow or another, the work must get done.

So instead of a happy-go-lucky, carefree vacation, I’m spending my time trying to achieve a balance between working and spending fun, quality time with my family. I try hard to avoid having my kids’ (and my own, for that matter) memories of our vacations include me always having laptop or pad of paper within reach.

Since I’ve in no way yet mastered this dilemma, I’d really enjoy hearing from some of you who’ve been able to win the struggle of being a writer on vacation. In the meantime, here are some ideas I’m toying with at the moment:

1. Set aside a definite, particular time every day for work. This way, everyone will know what times are off-limits for Mom and can work around my schedule accordingly. But, what if something we’ve already planned ends up interfering with this allotted time?

2. Wait for everyone else’s moments of downtime to sneak in some work. This is actually what I’m doing now, but, what if my four other family members’ downtimes don’t always coincide?

3. Don’t worry about it; just enjoy my vacation, and work nonstop when I get home. Possible, but then I’d have all the stress of hitting all my deadlines once I return home, which of course, would make my vacation stressful simply thinking about it!

I apologize for whining, but you can see my dilemma–and why I need your help! I also apologize that this isn’t much of an instructional post–actually, I’m hoping to learn from you! Managing the writing life isn’t always easy. Freelancing can be tough because you ten to always be on the clock–no matter how hard you try not to. But, on the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for being able to work in your bathing suit next to a pool if you wish. I doubt that I would trade it for anything!

Until next week when I’ve returned home and hopefully, everything’s returned to normal.