Writing While On Vacation: A (Semi-Humorous) How-To

 So, my attempt to maintain my writing schedule while on vacation didn’t go so well.

This isn’t to say I did absolute NO writing.  For I did; I wrote five times.  In three weeks.

But two of those times were while on airplanes – that’s a huge step outside of my normal creative environment and my comfort zone.  I even wrote a sex scene while on a plane.  While sitting in the aisle seat no less.  That’s got to count for something!


It’s not the end of the world that I barely wrote while away.  It’s not like a wagered money on it or anything.

(Maybe I should have wagered money on it; maybe that would have been just the motivator I needed, for I despise spending money needlessly.)

I even learned a few useful tips to follow the next time I go away for an extended period of time.

And so, for those who were duped by my original Writing While On Vacation post, searching in vain for advice from someone who hadn’t a sweet clue how to do so herself, I now offer you the benefit of my newly-acquired wisdom:

Don’t sleep with your host

That is to say, if your host is an early-to-bed sort of person, you need to capitalize upon those nighttime hours when you aren’t forced to don’t get to socialize with him/her and do your writing then.

Likewise, if your host is a night-owl, you need to go to bed much earlier so you can get up early and work while s/he is still sleeping.

It takes about a week to reset one’s circadian rhythm.  If you and your host’s rhythms aren’t naturally opposite already, this means you’ll have to go away longer than a week to make it happen.

If a week is all you get off work, your only other option is to totally one-up his/her rhythm.  Meaning if s/he gets up at 5am, you rise at 11:30 the night before!

Don’t stay with people who have babies/young children

Babies and young children have a way of eclipsing everything anyone else does or can do, even your awesomeness as a writer.  Forget the fact that you weave veritable tapestries of words; youngsters that are only just learning to spell will get all the attention, yours included.

That is bad enough.  Worse still: once the kids are down for the night, that’s when their parents will want to chat with you – to engage in a conversation that doesn’t involve bodily functions or which shoe goes which foot.

In this moment, there’s nothing ruder than announcing you must retreat to go spin a tale of wonder.  Except maybe complaining about how their kids’ late-night crying and early-morning antics are disrupting your sleep.

Don’t stay with people you really like

You’ll want to spend every waking moment with them.

Don’t stay with people who are fun

Because writing, really, isn’t fun.  Fun will always win over not-fun.

Don’t do anything fun (whether with people you like or not)

See above.

Do go to the country

If nothing else, you won’t be distracted from writing by surfing the internet – not with the speed of rural internet connections.

Do stay a with freelancer

Especially a freelancer with babies/young children.  The minute those kids go down to sleep, you’ll immediately be on your own, for that freelancer’s got sh*t to do, and is probably behind in it.  Even freelancers without kids won’t cramp your writing schedule, for freelancers are always working.

Do stay in a hotel

Just don’t fill your days and nights with fun activities and outings with fun people you really like or you may not make much use of your hotel (and what a waste of money that would be!)

Don’t go on vacation at all

Becoming a successful writer is about making sacrifices, right?  Are you tough enough?

Do embrace the true purpose of a vacation

The purpose of a vacation is to have a break from work.  Writing (even unpaid – or as-yet-unpaid – writing), as much as some might categorize it (in the best possible case) as an endearing hobby, is work.  At times damn hard work.

So don’t beat yourself up about taking a bit of a hiatus from your writing.  You deserve a rest.


(A/N: This post is dedicated to my sister, who is the hardest-working freelancer and mother of two young children that I know.)

Related post: Writing While On Vacation

(Image source #1 and #2)

6 thoughts on “Writing While On Vacation: A (Semi-Humorous) How-To

  1. Good list. Made me chuckle. I do agree that it is easy to beat yourself about not writing as much as you think you should but sometimes a break is well needed. And, it is at times after theses hiatuses that the creative juices really pour.


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