Writers Don’t Take Vacations

The post title pretty much says it all, but I’ll elaborate anyway.

Back at the beginning of August, I thought it would be an excellent time to take a break from writing. Most of the world shuts down, so why shouldn’t I? I’d just gone through a final round of edits on Shadowdemon in preparation for submission as part of a pitch contest. I was finishing up edits on A Lesson in Vanishing for the same reason (different contest, same request-full manuscript). There were numerous new projects I could have started, but none were itching to come out. I thought I’d be golden.

Yeah. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that didn’t work out so well.

                                                         Sigh. If only…

It all started when I decided, at the relative last minute, to take Angela James’s Before You Hit Send self-editing course. Taking the course necessitated using a manuscript to practice on, so I dug out Not About Love and set to work. By the end of the course, I felt so confident in my finished product, I sent it off to three digital-first publishers.

But I didn’t stop there. Ooooh no, it snowballed out of control.

I wrote a few new scenes (and an entirely new chapter) for Finders Keepers. I applied the tricks and tips I’d learned in the course to the manuscript, and as of yesterday, I finished editing and sent it off to a couple of beta readers. I finished editing War Heroes (which didn’t take much) and sent it off to three lit magazines. I sent Shadowdemon off to a second digital-first publisher. I started in on Nice Guys Finish Last, a story using characters from Love. And I finally figured out how to solve my biggest issue with Iron Jewel. I gotta tell you, it was a relief to discover I wouldn’t have to rewrite over half the chapters. Or discard them all together and come up with new ones.

I think the most important thing I learned this month was I needed to give myself the okay to step away. That I didn’t have to spend two or more hours every evening working. That I didn’t even need to turn on my laptop, if I didn’t feel like it. That I could finally get around to watching the season finale of Deadliest Catch, or watch Shark Week, or read spectacularly fluffy crappy books all month long.

This new-found freedom will come in handy in the months to come, when work becomes a veritable shitstorm and I want to tear my eyes out. Or scream at people. Or both.

(In case you’re wondering, I will not be doing NaNo this year. I will die if I try to NaNo. Sorry, NaNo.)

It was nice not having to think of super sparkly and witty topics to blog about for a month.

Writers don’t take vacations. It’s impossible. Sure, you could take a break for a couple of days. But for a whole month?  Mmmm…nope. Nuh uh. Not happening. The need to create, to get the voices in your head to shut up for a little while, is too great. Ignoring it really will drive you nuts.

And of course, after the relative calm of August *snort* comes the madness of September. September is the month in which I’ll be working my way through the morass of Iron Jewel to get it ready for the Emerald City Writer’s Conference in October. September brings not one, not two, but three agent pitch contests (one over on Brenda Drake’s blog, the other on Cupid’s Literary Connection (Info will be posted shortly!). See below for the third). I’ll be polishing pitches until my fingers go numb, and then I have to start in on the synopses. Maybe, if I’m really lucky, I’ll have time to crank out the rest of Nice Guys Finish Last. Note this does not take into account the likelihood that work will become close to unmanageable, therefore turning all my careful planning on its ass.

One housekeeping note: Starting Monday, I’ll be participating in the Gearing Up To Get An Agent blog hop and pitch contest. You can check out all the details by clicking on the badge to your right. Let the insanity of September begin!

6 thoughts on “Writers Don’t Take Vacations

  1. Yup. Every time I tried it, it flopped. Vacation = sit in a hotel room (or on a beach) with my computer and write. I can do that more comfortably at home.


  2. Great advice! I really need to find a balance with writing and free time. My ‘vacation’ at the moment is not exactly self-induced, caused from too much pressure on writing beforehand. It’s been about three or four weeks now and I’m slowly moving towards a breakdown. I hope the voices start talking to me again. (Wow, that’s a weird thought.) :] Anyways, great blog and have a nice day!

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