Scenes from #writing group summer night. #amwriting #minnesota #onlyinmn

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Now that I’m back to school teaching, I’ve been catching up with my colleagues. A common question is “How was your summer?” Now that I’ve been on an academic schedule for a couple of years, the importance of summer as a time to connect with my own work has become apparent. This past summer I tried to pack in all the work I neglected throughout the school year.

My spring semester schedule looked like this:

* Teaching four classes

* Grading for said classes

* Answering student emails

* Student advising

* Advising SPJ student chapter

* Planning Media Day

* Working on Ph.D.

I also tried to attend to personal things, like running, biking, and spending time with my husband and other family and friends.

This summer I crunched to do the following:

* Supporting research for thesis (20,000)

* Finishing Part I of creative work for Ph.D. (40,000 words) and trying to write another 20,000 before the end of September to stay on track for a summer Ph.D.

* Various freelance assignments, including book reviews

* Readying essays and other proposals for submission to lit journals and festivals

* Prepping fall semester classes

* Teaching one online class

And as always, the aforementioned personal time with family and friends. I got in a couple of weekend getaways, plus running, biking, swimming, and walking the dog every day.

Nina and I just hanging at Hiniker.

A post shared by Rachael Hanel (@rachael_hanel) on

Is it any wonder I didn’t really start the school year as refreshed as I could have been? But I’m not sure I ever had a more productive writing summer, so that alone was worth the effort.

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