Monday, February 18, 2008

Writing on Vacation

Vacation Tip of the Day: Have kids? Bring a towel to the beach. Even in February when everyone insists the water is too cold and your kids won't go near it. They will.

I’m on a family vacation this week. No work, no school. We left the snow belt and are now south of the Mason-Dixon line. Time for some R&R.

But in the back of my mind, there’s a little voice saying, wow, think of all the writing you can get done this week!

Now, could I go a week without writing? Oh, sure. No problem there. I might feel guilty, like if I ate ice cream for dinner all week. But I don’t want a vacation from writing. I don’t get enough time to write in my regular life. On the other hand, I don’t want my vacation to be a driven, goal oriented, “I have to accomplish this or I’ll feel inadequate” type of week. I know I won’t get a lot of writing done because time is an illusion, especially on vacation. At the beginning of a week off, I think I have all the time in the world to catch up on my sleep, bond with my family, meet old friends, read a few books, evaluate my life priorities and whip out a few chapters of my work-in-progress. But experience tells me that the time will slip through my fingers, leaving me with nothing but a backlog of laundry.

So here’s my plan for vacation writing: I’m going to write slow. I’m bringing a legal pad and a few pens. I’m letting my characters go off on tangents. I already have a great stupid tangent idea—based on a long-ago family vacation—about the world’s worst family restaurant experience. I just need an imaginary restaurant name. So far I have:
-- Steamy's
-- The Microwavery
-- The Opossum Road Grill
-- The Country Trough

None of these are funnier than the real-life restaurant inspiring my bad family meal scene, where I was introduced to gray soup. (SmorgaBobs. No lie.) I'll just have to keep brainstorming.

To punch up the sibling rivalry part of my WIP, I’ll ask my brothers to brainstorm creative ways to destroy a girl's possessions. I know they used to be experts. Too bad there isn’t a modern analog for putting things in a hot-air popcorn popper and shooting them across the house, but maybe we can come up with one.

The outline is staying at home. When I get back to real life, I’ll get serious about writing that synopsis. Really.

Do you write on vacation? Or do you need a vacation from writing? Or has it been so long since you’ve been on an actual vacation that writing is your vacation? And have I inspired you to write about your worst family vacation dining experience? (Can you top gray soup?)

-- Kate, Miss Apprentice Writer


Emily Marshall said...

Can't top gray soup at all. Sounds icky. Have fun on vacation Kate.

And I don't believe in relaxation vacations (I wish I did), but for some reason when I spend money on a trip I feel like I have to be go, go, go all the time seeing all the sites. So much so that I need a vacation when I return to recover from my vacation.

DeenaML said...

Omg, I would give almost ANYTHING right now to be somewhere with SUN! The grey is killing me here. Hope you are soaking up the Vitamin D while you can! :)

Grey soup. Hmm. Joyce's dish on the LJ feed is right up there. Or possibly something that looks like it'd taste really good, but then when you bite into it, it tastes the complete opposite, like garbage.

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

I get ya, gal! First, I kind of like "the Country Trough." It really reminds me of a few experiences I've had growing up.

As for the vacation/writing relationship, I've had take a vacation in order to write. Yep, a couple of times a year, if at all possible, I try to get away for a weekend all by myself and write. There's a fabulous B&B in the Endless Mountains where I go and just be. I'll walk for a few miles and drink in the mountains, visit a couple of ancient private cemeteries, have coffee in a local cafe. Read. It's fabulous! No kids, no hubby, no dogs, no TV...

When I'm on vacation with the family, I get nothing done. I can barely read on my own, let alone dive into my own creativity and write.

Enjoy your holiday, and any writing that gets done is good writing.

Rhonda Helms said...

I'd LOVE to take a writing vacation, but usually, I don't get anything done. LOL. I try to accept this and tell myself I'll use the vacay as research...LOL

Enjoy your week off!!