Friday, July 11, 2014

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted....

By Art Taylor

This week's question—"Do you take regular vacations from writing and if so do you enjoy them?"—prompted a number of immediate responses in my mind, several of them a little contradictory:
  • Because I have a less strenuous schedule during the summer break (vacation) from my teaching duties at George Mason University, I usually find more time to write then.
  • Despite best plans to get some reading and writing done on my recent beach vacation down in North Carolina, it was tough to carve out any time at the computer or even to jot down occasional passages or ideas in a notebook.
  • Getting away from the computer or the notebook—a vacation from the daily routine of writing—often frees my mind in ways that staring at the screen or the page doesn't and ultimately results in some of my best ideas.
  • But then showing up every day to write build momentum, keeps the mind working and focused, and....
I tried to reconcile all that, but not sure how to bring it all together very well. I do find that it helps to at least check in daily on my current project, even if each day's process or product can vary desperately from the days before or after. And as I've said in previous posts, sometimes I go long stretches without writing at all because of the pull of lesson prep or grading or whatever—not a vacation from writing certainly, not the word I would use at least. But I also find that giving the mind time to wander—usually along with giving the body some time away from the writing desk—helps to clear up thoughts and ideas and to clear the path for those little flashes of inspiration and insight.

So.... daily focus? occasional short breaks? but not a full vacation, at least not by choice?

Maybe some of this explains why I write at such a glacial pace....


2 comments:

Catriona McPherson said...

Art I didn't write a word until I had packed in my university job. Not even in the summer. (My motto is "Take your multi-tasking and-")

Susan C Shea said...

I tried to write before quitting my university job, but it was hard, in part because I was still writing some speeches, reports, and fundraising letters for the president. Switching voices was a wrench. More power to you for doing as well as you do!