Thursday Thirteen - 287 - 13 Ways to Ensure Your Writer Vacation Refills Your Well

by Julia Phillips Smith

Summertime, and the living is easy.

Or is it?

Last year I wrote about writers never really going on vacation, a truism that holds for creative people of all stripes. Can we ever stop seeing, being inspired, rolling ideas through our heads -- just because we've scheduled down time and call it vacation?

However, here are thirteen things you can do to shut down that urge to write when you're busy recharging. 

1 - Keep an Idea Journal

You know they're going to come to you. Ideas. Who can stop them? Just park them for awhile as you fill up your well by not acting on them.

2 - Unplug

Chuck the mobile device. Announce your vacation and stop checking messages. Everyone will be there when you get back. I promise.

3 - Don't attack the Get-Around-To-It List

This is your vacation, remember? Not your workation. I know you have a lot of things that don't get done because you're busy writing. Later, gator.

4 - If you have trouble resisting the urge to catch up on the Get-Around-To-It List, make a secondary list

You can place this list inside your Idea Journal. Whatever gets you through the night. In fact, if making lists makes you relax, as it does for my mom, make lists to your heart's content.

5 - Give yourself permission

People are starting to reclaim the concept of unstructured play time for kids. Artists need to feed their inner child. Give yourself permission to just be.

Maybe this should be at the top of the list, but I have a feeling it's something that dawns on us as we make our way further into our vacation time.

6 - Shake up your routine

Have-to's and should's are all put aside during vacation. Not the 'I-have-to-remember-my-sunglasses' should's. The 'I-have-to-do-my-laundry-cause-it's-Tuesday' should's.

The laundry can wait. You know what can't wait? Your vacation. Start having I-never-do-this fun.

Want to spend six hours making chocolate eclairs? Now's your chance! 

7 - Schedule fun

Some people are good at finding fun, but some of us need to plan it out. Either way, unless your fun is simply the freedom of not having to do anything, your vacation may need a little assistance.

Plan out a few day trips, take your camera and make some memories. Sometimes if the fun is planned, it's easier for some people to let themselves get swept away, to set aside all of those works-in-progress and Get-Around-To-It lists. It's a concrete way of giving yourself permission to let go. 

8 - Have a look at your Bucket List

If you haven't already scheduled some of those Bucket List items for your vacation, perhaps this time off is an opportunity to reshuffle the Bucket List itself. 

9 - Challenge yourself

Is there something you've been putting off because you need time to get past the learning stage? You're on writing vacation. You can have a go at something else for a change.

This may perhaps overlap a bit with the Get-Around-To-It list. As long as this item is fun, it's allowed.

10 - Reconnect with non-writing friends

Do you have family or friends who have heard of your writing cave but don't really get what that's all about? Are you longing to talk about something other than plot holes and why the character you love doesn't really belong in the story you're working on?

Head out to the beach / a hiking trail / a nightclub with one of these friends or a sister-in-law. Giggle about something other than the wrong turn you made in your previous draft. 

11 - Reconnect with writing friends

Let's face it -- who gets you better than your writer peeps? Sure, you can talk shop a little. Just don't turn it into a business meeting or a craft-of-writing get together.

Go see a movie together, go for drinks, go for a day trip together. Get to know a different side to your writer friends. I'm sure you've often said, "We should [insert activity here]," when you're settling in to a writers' meeting. You're on vacation -- now is the perfect time.

12 - Connect with faraway friends

Have you met writer friends online who live continents away from you? No time and/or funds to hop a plane for an in-person hug and some laughs?

Create face time by scheduling a Skype session to finally 'meet' up.  

13 - If you've successfully unplugged from your normal online haunts, find new ones 

Are there a dozen web sites you long to visit but never have the time to do it? Want to figure out what a blog hop is and how it works? What about all of those Facebook and Twitter parties you never have time for? Put on your tiara and sign in.


Any tips on leaving your writer hat behind on your down time?

Photo by Helen Tansey

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