Post-Vacation Exhaustion

that thing you do where was i

Note to Worldcon newcomers who typed in the URL from my freebie cards:  Hi there, and thanks for your interest!  I talk about writing a lot on this here blog, so if you have any questions on that sort of thing, by all means feel free to ask.

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Note to self: even with the best of intentions, heading out to a major convention fifty-plus miles away the day after a ten-hour flight back from London isn’t the best of ideas, no matter how you slice it.  We have been moving almost nonstop in one way or another for the last sixteen days.  Lesson learned.

We’d decided to take Sunday and Monday off from everything and just relax and catch up on what needs catching up, that way we’re somewhat conscious and rested come Tuesday when it’s back to the Day Job.  We’ve been on vacation for almost the entire month, having flown out of SFO on the 4th and joining the working world again tomorrow.  It’s only two weeks and an extra day, but it feels so much longer than that.

While I didn’t get any new words done on any projects at 750Words, I did do a hell of a lot of reading of both In My Blue World and the Apartment Complex story (as you see from the previous fly-by posts).  I focused most of my attention on the former since it’s first in the release queue, and worked my way up to about the first third of the novel.  I’ll keep this up until the run is complete and then jump in on the Big Honking Revision Process.

Which brings me to the following: I’ve noticed that my revision process has definitely changed over the past five or so years.  I’ve taught myself newer and quicker techniques, discarded my bad habit of flailing the story into shape, and paid a lot more attention to the details.  I’m sure I still have a long way to go, but I’m definitely getting there.

That said, I’ll be back to normal on Friday with more writing insights — I gave myself some time to think about new and different subjects to blog about here, and I hope you’ll enjoy the entries when I post them!

Vacation fly-by: More revision notes

I’m still going through In My Blue World and making notes on what needs fixing. There are two MAJOR fixes to be made: one, that I need to change the POV to omniscient 3rd person, and two, that a number of sequences need to be pasted together. It’ll be a big undertaking that I won’t be able to start for another week or so, which of course is making me twitchy.

On the plus side, the story itself is solid — it’s tight and there aren’t that many holes and continuity issues I need to fix. It’s only the prose (and the first chapter or so) that needs cleaning up. And the cover is already done! I’m still aiming for an October/November release at this time. *crosses fingers*

So…what about the Apartment Complex story? Good question. I’ll still be working on that when I can and take my time, as I purposely haven’t assigned a drop date for it. [There is also the cover art issue, but that’s another post entirely.].

Okay! Back to work…

Working vacation: editing notes

Aah fudge. In My Blue World is gonna need a lot of work after all, isn’t it?

Well– maybe, maybe not. My opening chapters are always a hot mess. It’s definitely going to need a lot of TLC. From what I’ve seen up to about 3/4 through, it gets much better as it goes along.

Also: it’s stupidly HOT here in London. Thankfully our room has great AC!

Working Vacations

anime vacation

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!

On the Run

anime music listening

Oops!  I seem to have forgotten to prepare a post for today!  Sorry about that, and thanks for waiting!

We’ll be on vacation next week, and I’ve been hemming and hawing over whether I should write posts or fly-bys.  I could easily write them tomorrow if need be, but at the same time I shouldn’t feel guilty if I post a fly-by instead.  Except that I do.  Writing can be like that.

As always, I spend a bit of vacation prep debating what writing-related things to bring with me.  Sometimes, like our recent Disney trip, I won’t touch it at all.  Other times, like our previous London trip, I’ll actually get work done.  So it’s a toss-up.  I’ve learned not to overpack like I used to.  I never bring my laptop anymore, though I might bring my tablet, especially when I want to do a bit of revision or reading of what I have so far.  For this trip, that’ll most likely be it, aside from the notebook and a few printouts for the Apartment Complex story.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to this break.  It’s been an unexpectedly busy first quarter so far at the Day Job, which means continual and very annoying interruptions from my work by the client reps, asking when my work will be done.  Eesh.  I just want a week to not think about much of anything at all except the next time we head over to Rainbow for more loco moco or kalua pork.

Is it 4pm yet?

 

In a Room Other Than One’s Own

Calvin & Hobbes @Bill Watterson
Calvin & Hobbes ©Bill Watterson

I’ve gotten pretty comfy writing back here in Spare Oom.  I’ve got my PC for goofing off online research and music soundtracks.  I’ve got our old love seat back here, which I’ve been using for my longhand writing.  I keep the window slightly ajar and the blinds open to remind me there’s a world outside.  I’m just down the hall from the living room so if A needs me, she only needs to call out.

But what about writing elsewhere?

I’ve worked elsewhere in the apartment over the years.  I restarted the last chapters of The Process of Belief back when my computer was in the living room.  I’d sit next to A on the couch and work on the Bridgetown Trilogy revision while we had something going on the TV.  I’ve worked at the kitchen table while A and one of her friends watched a movie.  And recently I’ve done some longhand out there as well.

Writing elsewhere can definitely be a great exercise, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t want to miss out on deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise.

During our trip to Manhattan a short while ago, I managed a few pages during the flights, and I got a few more at the end of the day in our hotel room.  And over the years, I’ve written in all sorts of places.  There’s a passage in A Division of Souls that was written in a cheap hotel where I decided to stay rather than drive home during a snowstorm.  I’ve worked on the Bridgetown Trilogy revision in hotels in Portland, Cambridge, Seattle, and even Paris.  A number of scenes, notes, and brainstorming ideas for all three Bridgetown books were written during SF cons.  And I almost always get a good portion done during vacations.

writers_on_vacation

It can definitely be done, if you’re willing to work.  That’s not to say that you should abstain from having fun during your vacations.  By all means, go out and see the world!  Do some people-watching.  Pick up on localisms, regional cultures, things otherwise mundane that would actually brighten up your characters.  Listen to how they speak, check out what music they listen to.  But at the same time, feel absolutely free to sit down at that sidewalk café, drink your coffee and eat your beignet, and think about nothing else but being in the moment and enjoying it.

We’ll be heading out to London in a few days, and I plan on getting a lot of writing done while we’re there.  I have notebooks at the ready, my camera for reference shots, a shopping list of books and cds to look for.  But this will also be a continuation of our previous trip there last fall for Worldcon.  That trip turned into a long bucket list of music-related places to visit (Abbey Road, Baker Street, Berwick Street, Savile Row, etc.), historic museums (Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert, Portrait Gallery, etc.), and points of interest (St Paul’s, Waterstone’s, Whitehall/Westminster).  This is going to be the Extended Remix, in which we’ll hit all those places again as well as those we missed the last time, this time at our leisure. [Yes, I just pronounced that as “lezh-err” instead of “lee-zhur” in my head.  I’m totally ready for this trip.]

Point being:  By all means, if you want to get some writing done while on vacation, even and especially if you don’t exactly need to, go nuts!  Go for it!  Write like the mad, crazed weirdo that you are!  It’s well worth it if you decide to make it enjoyable.  Don’t worry about perfection, just have fun with it!  Play with a subplot.  Come up with an outtake that you can share online with your blog followers.  Play around with character development.

Just be sure to balance it with just having fun in the real world!