Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Writing on Vacation

Do you have a plan for Spring Break?

Spring Break is just around the corner, but not everyone is lucky enough to get a real break. Some scramble for day camps to keep the kids occupied, others have relatives or neighbors to chip in. For me, one of the great perks of working at home is that I can keep my schedule flexible to accommodate the holidays.

Tip#1 Plan Activities in Advance.

My kids are content to wait if they know what they're waiting for. I like to make a list of all the things I'm willing to do (be sure to include everyone while making this list), then go to relevant websites for Spring Break specials BEFORE you fill in the calendar. For example, our skating rink offers $2.00 admission on Tuesdays. The movie theater has $1.25 deals on Mondays... Try to have something planned for each day, especially if you can't do anything big or extraordinary.

Can't think of anything unique? Google things to do in your hometown. Maybe you'll find something you've forgotten about. Or maybe there's some sort of spring-fling festival going on. We have an indoor rock wall that's fairly new... but we're always too busy to check it out! Now's a great time.

Do your kids enjoy crafty stuff? Do your research now, so you can have the necessary materials on hand. Plan sleepovers now, so you can add to the grocery list accordingly. (the goal is... the more organized you are, the more time you'll have to write!)

Tip#2 Plan Your Writing in Advance.

I'm certain a few of you would rather write than go to a pizza parlor playground, but it's Spring Break! Give yourself permission to let the writing routine slip. Or try being more efficient. If you only have one hour before it's time to do something with the family, use it wisely and you'll feel better about leaving the keyboard. If you know you're going to be sitting around while the kids play (or swim, or climb, or skate), use that time wisely as well. It's always amazing how much more I get done when there's a shortage of time or a actual deadline.

Try carrying a notebook this week. I don't normally, because I can type 10x faster than I can write by hand. But consider the time it takes to ponder a scene (or chapter)—not only to develop the point of it, but to work out the progression of each character or plot thread. In a notebook, try finishing the scene/chapter in an outlining format. Hopefully, any flaws in the plan will reveal themselves and you'll be able to iron out the kinks before you get back to the computer.

Start a list of description words that fit the scene your working on, so you're not wasting time at the computer trying to think of a word you haven't used in a while.

If you don't feel like working on the scene-in-progress, work on log-lines, query blurbs, or synopsis blurbs. Elevator and twitter pitches. Title possibilities. Considering these things before you need them might help focus the writing itself.

Work on character development by writing paragraph-length events that shaped his or her life. This history might never see the light of day, but knowing your character more thoroughly makes the writing go faster.

Be flexible! It's only a week. Well, nine days if you're counting.
Or not. Sometimes an honest and true break is exactly what you need.

Do you try to write when you're supposed to be on vacation? Any tips for working more efficiently when you do have time to write? (like turning off the internet... Ha!)

Whether you get a break or not, I hope you all get a chance to do something fun this week.

Happy Writing!
Toni Kerr


  1. That comic is hilarious and all too true!

  2. HAHAHAHA, that comic is going to be me at the end of this week. Love it!

  3. Ouch! I'm the middle one in the comic. And I'm not getting a break anytime soon, spring or otherwise, alas. But Memorial Day weekend is an away-trip, yay!

  4. Love the comic, too. I'm the one on the far right, always daydreaming. It's a disease, really. I have the hardest time focusing in the moment. At least when I'm in the middle of a WIP.

    We homeschool so no odd week-long disruptions to the schedule. It's just school in the morning, free play in the afternoon, and I don't generally get a chance to write until bedtime. As far as vacations? Pfft. Who takes vacations? :)

  5. Great post. I took a week off in the middle of February. Mid-way through the week, inspiration was coming at me from everywhere. Unfortunately when the week was up, I had writer's block for a few days. I'm quite sure my muse was upset with me for ignoring him for so long.

  6. I think I'm the one on the right too... :-)

    Isn't that just the way of things? Inspiration strikes when you're least able to run with it, and hides when you need it most. LOL


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