I’m an imperfect writer. And vacation typically puts me at my worst. I rarely write on vacation. I recently got back from a 6 week vacation during which I only wrote a day or two.
But that doesn’t bother me. Vacation is rarely a time when I want to spend my time writing. Usually it is a time to do and try new things. A time to spend with family.
Occasionally there are days or a few hours in the morning or evening when nothing is planned and I’m able to write a bit. But that is the exception, not the norm.
So, when I’m on vacation, I almost always give myself permission not to write.
If you are planning a vacation, or wondering what you could have done differently let’s walk through some of the ways to determine whether or not you should write on vacation. And if you decide you should, I’ll give you some tips on how to do so successfully.
*Either way, it is best to make a decision.
So, should you write on your vacation?
Let’s find out!
How to Decide if You Should Write on Vacation
Why it’s Important to Make a Decision
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of whether or not you should write, let’s talk about why it’s important to have a firm decision. You may be wondering why you wouldn’t just play it by ear. Write if there is time, and not worry about it if it doesn’t happen. And that’s a valid point.
Why shouldn’t you just see how the vacation goes?
Because when you aren’t writing you won’t be completely focused on your vacation. You might find yourself wondering if there will be time that day to write. Or you will feel guilty for not writing if you hoped there might be some time. But if you are firmly committed one way or another, you will be more focused on your writing if you choose to write, and you will be completely focused on your vacation if you choose not to write.
When You Should Not Write on Vacation
If your family has planned a lot of activities, it’s probably not the best vacation to spend time writing. Your novel will still be there when you get home. It would be unfortunate to hang back and miss out on the inside jokes and memories made. Besides, attending the planned activities might give you inspiration for a character or story idea.
If you will meet someone new on vacation, you should consider not writing on vacation. My sister got married when I was living in Spain and I took a vacation to see her and meet her husband when I got back. I chose not to write because I didn’t want to miss a moment of getting to know my new brother-in-law.
Suppose you are in a new state or country, and there’s a good chance you may never visit again. Take all your time to soak up the culture, the people, the sights, and the food. This is a vacation of a lifetime and you want to be fully present. Let your writing take a break, and enjoy the new experiences.
If you decide not to write on vacation, that doesn’t mean you can’t write down your observations! If you have a family member say the funniest thing or you are in a new country and something you experience triggers the idea for a character or plot, it’s still a good idea to keep a notebook handy.
I also want to point out that you should not write on vacation if you don’t want to. I am a real home body. When I go home I tend to follow my mom around like a little puppy. I could find time to write. But I don’t want to. Even though my parents often plan low key days where nobody is expected to do anything or be anywhere. On those days I still prefer to sit and talk with my parents, watch HGTV with my mom, or go on a run with my dad. If your personality doesn’t like writing on vacation, don’t do it.
When You Should Write on Vacation
If you are on a vacation where your going to have a lot of personal time or down time, that is the perfect vacation conducive for finding time to write. Maybe it’s writing on the beach, in the hotel room at night, or in your childhood home. If your family will spend a decent amount of time doing their own things, you know you will have time in which you can write.
When you are flying to your destination, you can also dedicate time on the airplane for writing.
If you are on a vacation where your family has planned a lot of excursions or you are in a new place, but you still want to write try and commit to writing before everyone is awake, or after everyone has gone to bed. This way you are not missing out on any experiences, but you are still deciding to write on vacation.
How to Successfully Write on Vacation
- Unless you have a small portable device, consider writing with pen and paper. It’s easier and lighter to travel with.
- Make a plan for what time of day and for how long you will write. Plan around activities and be sure you are planning your writing time when you won’t be missing out.
- Don’t expect writing on vacation to be like writing at home. You might be distracted. Or maybe you won’t get as much done. There is a chance you might not have as much time as you thought.
- Write during travel time.
- Have a notebook handy to observe what people say and to record new experiences.
- Don’t let writing on vacation stress you out.
- If you can’t write on vacation, but you know you will have time to read, bring a book or two about writing. Or bring some books similar to your WIP.
So, will you be writing on your next vacation? What do you do to make it easier to write on vacation?