Vacation, in theory, should be a wonderful chance to sit back, relax, and let the creative juices flow. In reality, it never works out that way. I took an impromptu getaway this weekend, and I knew I didn’t want to miss a day of writing and break not only my New Year’s resolution but also this chain of great ideas in my story. (I’ve also got a looming deadline. This urban-fantasy pulp story is due April 15, which is closer than it sounds.)
Anyway, I brought a couple tools with me and planned ahead a bit. Here are a few tips I’m hoping will help me write everyday even while on vacation:
Ditch the laptop and use your cell phone or tablet. I’m in love with the new Microsoft Word app. I was able to write about 1,000 words in the car today while waiting for my husband to get out of a meeting. I used my iPhone and accessed my manuscript directly from my dropbox. I also brought my iPad mini and a full-size Bluetooth Apple keyboard (which is tinier than it sounds). So, technically, I can actually ditch the iPad and just use my phone and the keyboard if I wanted to. (However, I can see better with the iPad while using the keyboard, and sight is a wonderful thing.) Packing a smartphone or tablet is much easier than packing a large computer, and you won’t have email, banking, and all those other distractions on your computer begging for your time. (I already deleted all my iPhone games, and I don’t get email on my iPhone.) The other great thing about using a smart phone or tablet: you don’t have to wait 10 minutes for the rackin frackin thing to boot up. (Stop laughing at those of us chained to a PC, Mac users!)
Always have a notebook and favorite writing implement. If your technology fails, you can always gut it out and be old-fashioned. My first novel was started over Christmas vacation with three families in one house. I had 40 college-ruled pages handwritten in a week.
Make an announcement of your plans to write every day. Strike first. Get it out there before you get the annoying “what are you doing?” questions from the family or friends group. Communication can stop conflict before it starts.
Scout out quiet places to escape. I’ve toured the resort, and I’ve found a few spots. I’ve also found coffee and ice cream so I’m set. 😉
If all else fails, you always have the bathroom. I have roomed with 8 people in a hotel room before. (Here’s looking at you, Rachel, Damian, Gilkey Clan & Co., and Shannon!) What none of them knew: I practiced a major speech I had to give in the bathroom that weekend.
Finally, lower your standards for yourself. You are going to break your diet. You aren’t going to exercise like you should. And you aren’t going to write 2000 words a day unless you are traveling alone. Give yourself some slack and have a good time.
So, a sum up of my writing today while on vacation: I got about an hour’s worth done while waiting for my husband’s meeting to end. I also discovered that my character, Michael, is really stubborn. I was working on a scene where he was supposed to follow a cop into an interrogation room, and he just kind of said, “I don’t think so,” and walked out. That’s my boy! I’ve got one more scene to write from when the muse info dumped a bunch of ideas on me (out of order because she doesn’t make things easy), and that will be tomorrow’s task–more daunting than it sounds because it’s the scene with a lot of information and its pulp so I have to have a lot of action while I deliver the information.
What about the rest of you? Do you have any advice on how to write on vacation?