I write almost nothing when I’m on vacation. As soon as I load the suitcases in the car, the writing portion of my brain falls into a deep slumber and doesn’t awaken until I return home to sit in my usual writing spot.
Take my recent trip to Legoland. It’s a seven hour drive down a long, straight stretch of I-5. Surely, I could manage to write something in that amount of time. Always the optimist, I put my writing tablet and pen in the middle console before we even pulled out of the driveway so I couldn’t use the excuse that I had nothing to write on or with. I also vowed not to fallinto the trap of getting distracted by every cow and billboard I spotted out the car window, which is about all you’ll see on parts of I-5.
And it worked. At least in the beginning. I managed to write my blog for the LadyKillers site due that week before we'd even hit Fresno. But that was all. My initial progress became my only progress. I played with the GPS device, passed the kids snacks, and fiddled with the radio. I did everything but write.
Once we got to San Diego, I didn't get any better. Between relaxing after all the hustle and bustle of the day and trying to convince my kids it was really, truly time for bed, I barely had enough energy to watch TV, let alone concentrate on writing.
Past trips have yielded similar results. The previous year, on that long drive to Disneyland, I plotted out part of my second book, but mostly in my head. I jotted down very little. When I went to Mendocino for a brief visit, I didn’t even pack a notebook.
But I've decided that's a good thing. Sometimes I need to step away and not worry about the plot point I’m stuck on or how to smooth out the latest chapter. Instead, I need to take the opportunity to recharge my energy level without the pressure of trying to get any work done. I like to think that
when I return to the story, I’m better able to spot issues and sort them out. In fact, I think I should take a vacation every month. That sounds like a plan worth pursuing.