Wicked Wednesday: Vacation for Writers

Vacation (1)On Wednesdays the Wickeds weigh in on a specific topic. Wickeds, do your vacation plans differ now that you are a writer? Do secluded houses without internet hold more appeal? Does writing factor into your vacation plans? What is a writing vacation v. a vacation vacation? Is there such a thing as vacation when you are a writer?

Liz: I took my first actual vacation vacation in about five years this past February, thanks to Barb. When I visited Key West, I think the most writing I did was 100 words one morning before I decided it was much too nice a day for that. The time was much needed. That said, I don’t think we’re ever really, completely ON vacation. Even if we’re not putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) the stories are still working away in our brains. I think a little recharging helps fresh ideas rise to the surface. Of course, I’m a huge fan of our annual Wicked writing retreats!

Barb: Someone once said that being a writer is like agreeing to have homework for the rest of your life. Now that we’re no longer tethered to child care or day jobs, my husband and I often go away and just move our entire operation to another location–i.e. we’re still working, but in a different locale. That is one of the most fantastic things about the writing life. However, every once in a while we go on a “vacation, vacation,” not bringing any work. And at least once a year, I try to unplug completely, to neither write nor do any of the “business of writing,” and only use the electronics for finding my way somewhere or making dinner reservations.

Edith with beau and inlaws. Which of these is not like the other?

Edith: Of course I love quiet writing vacations, either solo or with like-minded authors. I hadn’t taken a real vacation in a few years, so this March Hugh and I did a southern-swing driving vacation. We visited my older son in the DC area on our way to Hugh’s sister and her husband in North Carolina, and on the way back, too. We had a great time and I barely worked, only putting up a couple of blog posts. But that one week turned out to be the week the Boston Globe wanted to photoshoot the Wickeds, and I missed it. That week! And the article didn’t come out for another five weeks. I’m not sure if I dare take another real vacation. Maybe next time Oprah will come calling…

IMG_2226_2Sherry: I think vacations are different when you are a writer. You may not write but you are always absorbing things that may be incorporated into a story — a bit of conversation, the way something smells, the perfect place to discover a body. My husband and I left our home early one morning for a trip. It was still dark out and about five miles from our house we passed a truck pulled over on the side of the road by some woods. A man was standing by the back reaching into the truck bed. And of course I thought he was up to something sinister.

Jessie: I find getting out of my normal routine makes the creative juices flow better than usual so vacations inevitably turn into working vacations. Even when I am not sitting at a desk with my laptop in front of me I find myself reaching for a notebook and recording things I find intriguing. I don’t think I’d want it any other way!

Julie: Last summer I took a real vacation, and took a river cruise down the Danube. Even then, I spent time researching clocks, going to museums to look at clocks, and waiting until the hour to see what the clock tower did. As my friend Pat said, it is all novel material. Since I also have a day job, vacations are usually spent writing, or editing. Or both. But writing is what I love, and it can be done anywhere, so I am good with those choices.

Dear readers who are writers, how about you? Has vacation changed since the muse moved in? And readers who aren’t writers – do you get away, really away on vacations?

21 Thoughts

  1. I love Sherry’s comment…I am not a writer but maybe reading so much makes me wonder what people are doing – parked at the side of the road…

      1. I am always doing things like that. It really does come from reading mysteries as much as writing them.

  2. Ha, ha, ha–what’s a vacation? I recently turned in book 3 and finished page proofs on book 2, so in theory, I have nothing to do at the moment. Right. Tell my brain that.

  3. Most of my vacation is attending reader/author conventions where I’m truly one happy person.

  4. Over the past few years the work/vacation mix has become kind of seamless. It was not by accident that I decided to write a series set in Ireland–it gave me an excuse to visit there regularly (and it’s tax-deductible!). Actually I’ve set all my series in places I know and love, and am happy to revisit. Conferences are good if you need to be jolted out of your writer rut (you know, sitting in your jammies and staring at your keyboard and talking to the cat), and if you can squeeze in some side trips you can find all sorts of inspiration. (Still wondering if that really was a dead body on the sidewalk in Times Square…)

  5. I usually take my laptop on vacations. Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don’t. All depends on what’s going on – in my brain and around me.

  6. So, yesterday, we established that I have a writer’s brain, even if it isn’t for writing novels. Now here’s where I confess that every vacation is a “working” vacation for me. Yes, my reviewing is a hobby, but I always have some book I want to get read for review. And I read a lot on vacation, although not as much as I used to. (It’s going to make the two week vacation my family is taking in July very interesting. I just hope I have my August books before we leave.) I usually push to get some reviews scheduled on my blog before I leave so it isn’t dark the entire time. Still, plane flights? Hours of uninterrupted reading time!

    And I always have my lap top with me so if I have a few minutes to do something on the blog or write a review, I can. I’m actually planning on leaving it behind on that trip in July. It will be very interesting and relaxing.

  7. The writing thing never really ever shuts off for me these days, even if I unplug from electronics and don’t plan to write on vacation or days “off.” My head is always in one story or another, whether it’s my own, one I’m editing, one I’m reading, or some new idea that pops in like an uninvited guest just as I’m trying to do something else. But I truly think that’s okay. It’s the way the brains of creative types are wired and it’s not something we do, it’s just who we are. Creativity begets more creativity.

  8. I have to say that I never take a “real” vacation but for around $8 I do get to travel to lots of different places with some wonderful people and I have you ladies (as well as a few men) to thank for it.

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