Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summertime and the living is easy.....

By R.J. Harlick

It's summertime and everyone's downing tools and heading for the hammock (if only). Do you take regular vacations from writing and if so do you enjoy them?

Summertime and the living is easy….Boy, is it. Finally I can shed winter clothes, feel the hot sun on my skin, go for long walks in the woods with my dogs, take the occasional plunge into the refreshingly cool water of the lake, paddle a mirror calm lake and most importantly move out to the screened-in porch, my summer office. Yup, you read correctly, my summer office, one of my favourite spots to write, where I capture my muse, so to speak. 


It doesn’t sound like I am taking a summer vacation does it? In fact at the moment I am on a big push to finish the first draft of the next Meg Harris mystery. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t take vacations from my writing. They just aren’t calendar driven. More like writing driven.

I take mini-vacations during the writing of a book, during the first draft and between drafts. It gives me a chance to step back, recharge my creative juices and see the story for the words. Often they are actual vacations on trips with my husband. Rarely do I take my writing with me when I go on a trip.


The longest time I take away from writing is after I deliver my completed manuscript to my publisher. This is what I call my real down time, when I no longer have this latest book lurking over my shoulder and I haven’t yet started on the next Meg Harris mystery. Mind you that doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about this next book and tossing around potential storylines. Sometimes I step back and enjoy a non-writing life for a month or two, sometimes longer. But invariably I start back into it, because writing is what I do, what I enjoy and besides I miss Meg.



6 comments:

Paul D. Marks said...

RJ, I think sometimes we might take physical vacations away from work, but I'm not sure we ever take a mental one :)

Catriona McPherson said...

All I can think is "dip in a cool lake". Here the sea is freezing and the lake is warm and soupy.

RJ Harlick said...

Paul, the closest I come to a mental break is in between books. But you're right we're always thinking about something related to writing. Just can't seem to turn it off.

RJ Harlick said...

Catriona, the lakes are wonderful in my Canadian paradise. Crystal clear and invigorating, but not so cool that you can't stay in for a good swim. Very refreshing on a hot humid day. That is why so many of us have cottages.

Susan C Shea said...

I spent three weeks in Kauai and it was a vacation from the usual distractions, so I wrote most of - and finished - a new book. Vacations are FROM something, usually the normal. My normal is full of distractions, so I was thrilled to have the uninterrupted time. Plus I swam in the warm Pacific before and after my writing time!

RJ Harlick said...

Good for you, Susan. An interesting perspective on vacations. My summer office at my cabin is my way of getting away from distractions. I think that is what we all strive to do with our writing.