To write or not to write on holiday


A dilemma. Whenever I take a day off from writing my novel, getting back to work on it after the day off is like pushing a boulder up hill. So the obvious soluition is to write everyday. But I get tired. I get physically and mentally tired after several weeks regular writing. And everybody, writers included needs a holiday, right? Is this all about pacing? Is there an Alexander technique for writing? One problem about writing everyday on holiday is that my best time for writing is in bed straight after I wake up and because I work extremely slowly I haven’t usually completed my quota before 12 noon. This timetable would not be much fun for any holiday companion.

I’m thinking about this because I am off on an eleven day cruise (http://www.aceculturaltours.co.uk/) round the Highlands and Islands of Scotland with my 95 year old mum. (The Treasure). She is an early riser and is at her best between 5am and 12 noon. Somehow we need to find a way to get the best out of our holiday for both of us. I am perfectly happy to sit on deck gazing at the scenery for hours at a time but I am worried that I will find it impossible to get back to work on return home. Any writers out there with a solution?

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7 thoughts on “To write or not to write on holiday

  1. I am the ultimate procrastinator, and I have tried various techniques to get me writing.

    I have attempted setting a minimum word count, but even the idea of 500 to 1,000 words leaves me daunted.

    I have tried writing in bed, thinking it more comfortable, only to snooze away less than an hour later.

    I tried to set a deadline, which is not very conducive to health as I usually slack all week and then on the last day SUDDENLY churn up the word count at a detriment to food, sanity, health or sleep.

    I haven’t tried “treating the writing as a job”, which doesn’t seem fun! What happened to the passion?

    What has sometimes worked for me is the Five Minute Rule. You sit down and tell yourself you are writing for five minutes. JUST five minutes. You trick your brain that it is only going to be a little while. Next thing you know it might be ten, fifteen minutes later and you already have at least 100 words. A hundred words is more than yesterday, and that is already a victory.

  2. I probably didn’t answer the question very well, but when it comes to holidays, perhaps you tell yourself you will enjoy yourself/rest one day, and then try writing something the next? Our brains always needs to relax and nourish itself!

  3. I’d say…Tune in to your Mum’s timetable. I assume at some she has a rest in the afternoon? (esp if she gets up at 5, I hope so!) During that rest, you jot down whatever words you feel like jotting down. Alternatively, again, if your Mum goes to sleep earlier than you, use that time to write a little, and before you’re on holiday, no word count, but something 🙂 You’ll sleep better and enjoy the day knowing that you have a little me-writing-now time 🙂 And you won’t lose the habit.
    Hope it helps!

  4. Your post reminds me of the Barthes essay about writers on holiday (in Mythologies).

    As for a solution, you don’t say whether the problem is the not getting back to work or the worrying about it. If it’s the former, you could just accept that the boulder is part of your lot, and if the latter, you could accept that it is understandable to worry. Or perhaps you could compromise by writing about your worries about not writing when you are not writing?

  5. thanks for all your comments. Yes the boulder is part of my lot and accepting that is important. I like the five minute rule but I like the 5mins/15mins/30 mins rule also: divide your chores up and do five mins of laundry, five mins of writing, five mins of tidying. Next do 15/15/15 of each, then 30/30/30…

    Sil-most of the time when Mum was asleep, I was asleep too!

    However I did get 4000 words written to the great joy of Captain Jim who wanted me to say “I finished my novel on the ship Lord of the Glens.” And I had a fab holiday!

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