Have I ever gone on a vacation and not done any writing work? That’s a good question. I highly doubt it. I mean, even if I post a fly-by here and say that I haven’t been doing much of anything at all, chances are quite high that I’ve been doing something related to one of the projects I’m working on.
More often than not I use vacations to do a read-through of The Book So Far. I’ll either pull it up via Dropbox or I’ll actually have it saved to my tablet or my Nook. This is a perfect time for me to read what I have up to that point and make a few mental notes: Is the flow of the prose consistent and balanced? Does the continuity need work? Did I forget a subplot? Are there any gaping holes I need to fill? These are things that I don’t necessarily need to work on that moment, but finding them at that point helps me remember them when I’m working on revision later on.
I don’t usually do any new writing during vacations, because that can take a while. I’d rather be walking around the place we’re visiting rather than holed up in the hotel tapping away. [The only exceptions to this are Just To Say I Did moments, such as when I did a bit of thumbnail sketching at the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.] I also don’t do that much new work because I only bring my midsized tablet and/or my Nook, which aren’t all that easy for typing.
And my favorite place to work while on vacation, oddly enough? On the plane! Our flights, depending on where we’re going, usually take a good couple of hours, so I can certainly keep myself busy with my reading/revision work. With that, my mp3 player, and perhaps a beverage, I’m good to go.
I’ve also learned over the years not to overpack when it comes to bringing my writing on vacation with me; I’ll have less time to play around with it than I think I will, especially if we’re going somewhere like the Big Smoke where we’ll be hitting All the Bookstores and visiting friends and crossing Abbey Road and going on tours of royal locations. Last time we were in London, I only brought my tablet, my Nook, and a small handful of index cards, all of which took up a tiny spot in my satchel.
I’ve also learned not to sweat it if I don’t get to it. I purposely set my deadlines far enough in advance (and make them flexible at that), so I can spend these days properly enjoying our vacation and not feel guilty about it.
So yes…if you’re like me and you find yourself itching to get some writing work done while you’re kicking it in a tiny top floor bedsit in Earl’s Court while your significant other gets their recommended dose of Tony Robinson historical documentaries on the telly, by all means go for it. But don’t forget to simply have fun and enjoy yourself!