The topic of vacation is a timely one, as I just returned from my own vacation with the family. Most years, as soon as school ends for my oldest kid, we pack up the car and head out for a week-long vacation. And every year, I’m reminded of just how important that week is.
Vacations allow my brain to take a rest from writing. They give me a chance to forget all about Dana and her habit of trying to solve murders. In fact, even if I wanted to worry about the latest problems in Blossom Valley, I wouldn’t have the chance. Between making sure my kids don’t get lost at the amusement park and listening to them ooh and aah over every character and ride, I don’t have time to think about plots and clues and character development.
And that’s a good thing. When I come back to the story after that week’s break, I can view the mystery with fresh eyes, spotting plot holes I would have otherwise missed and coming up with new ideas that I couldn’t have fathomed while stuck in my usual writing routine.
That’s not to say I don’t keep myself open to the possibility of new ideas while I’m on vacation. In fact, in previous years, I used to make a list of writing issues I wanted to resolve while on my trip, figuring I’d have time in the evenings when the kids wound down. I’d jot down questions I needed to answer or clues I needed to find the perfect place for, but I noticed that I never managed to check anything off that list.
Now, I make sure to pack a pen and tablet in case a genius idea hits me while riding the merry-go-round or sitting at the beach, but I don’t get upset if that notebook stays tucked away for the duration of the trip. In fact, I feel so refreshed after taking a week-long break that I might turn these annual vacations into quarterly ones. It can’t hurt, right?