How I Spent My Summer, 2017 Edition

I was not on vacation, even thought I was away from home for an entire month.

I seem to be unwittingly developing a habit for having “working summers”.

Despite occasionally going on what could be considered conventional vacations, some even involving trips abroad, over the past few years, I’ve not found much relaxation during my summers.

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Vacation is the Enemy of Creative Progress*

Watching TV on the couch

My time off included a whole lot of this

The week before last, I was on vacation.

“Holiday” as my friends across the pond and Down Under would say.

Or as I like to call it, “staycation”, for it was a vacation where, rather than travelling someplace, I remained in my home town.

(For the record, I make a further distinction between a “vacation”, which to me involves travel, and a “holiday”, which is travel to someplace particularly noteworthy or exotic.  But that’s just me.)

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It’s the Silence That Keeps Me Awake

Can't sleep

What keeps you up at night?

For some reason, I have a disproportionately large number of friends who are insomniacs.

I’m not talking people who occasionally suffer bouts of sleeplessness like we all sometimes do.  Rather, I mean folk who chronically don’t sleep more than a few of hours, every night of their lives.

That must really suck.

The notion of insomnia really came to the fore of my mind due to my recent trip to Australia. From my connection at Los Angeles airport to Melbourne, Australia, the flight was about 15 hours long.

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My Very Very Short Story Inspired By Australia

The Daintree Rainforest, a tropical rainforest and UNESCO World Heritage Site along the coast of Queensland, Australia.

The Daintree Rainforest, a tropical rainforest and UNESCO World Heritage Site along the coast of Queensland, Australia.

I didn’t expect to do any writing while here in Australia.

That is, not after I overcame my last-minute fervor to do lots of writing while in Australia – to write during as much of the flight as I remained awake for; to even finish my novel while abroad, if possible, and return home like a conquering hero.

In preparation for this, I scanned and PDF’ed an entire chapter of a reference book (since my WIP is historical fiction and thus research-dependant).

I also downloaded Evernote on both my iPad and phone so that I’d have two methods of inputting my deathless prose that would automatically sync as well as keep a backup in the cloud.

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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!

Right?

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:

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Why Writers Should Spend Time With Other Types of Artists

Sun by Dawn Banning

We writers – when we discuss our work and our process at all – tend to restrict said discussion to other writers.

After all, who else could possibly understand our unique brand of crazy?  How can anyone genuinely comprehend, for example, the compulsion to sit up in the dead of the night and scribble down a story idea unless s/he too has endured the utter frustration of greeting the morning with forgotten inspiration?

Artists of other disciplines (e.g. painters, musicians, actors, etc.), while themselves not fully cognizant of what it means to be a narrative writer, might come pretty darn close to understanding us.

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The Last Five Days & The First Five Things That Fill Them

Today marks my final full week of summer holiday.

Due to a combination of me hoarding my vacation days throughout the year, overtime rolled over from last year, and the fact that my vacation both began and will end with a long weekend, I’ve been able to take off most of the month of August.

I had good intentions to try to maintain my writing schedule over the course of my travels, but – well, we all know what they say about good intentions.

I’ll discuss what I was busy doing while I should have been writing in a future post.  In the meantime, with eight days remaining until I return to work, I’m thinking ahead to three days from now – to the last five days of my vacation, when I leave Ontario and go back home to Vancouver.

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