I am days away from an extended vacation to Italy. I can almost taste the fresh pasta, breads, and vegetables. When I think of a writer’s life, I don’t think about taking “time off.” Instead, I think about seeing new places that I will someday use as a setting in my next work or listening for an accent a new character might have. I watch for mannerisms, facial expressions or attitudes. I close me eyes and try to pick up sounds or smells that are familiar to where I am at. I taste everything with new vigor and delight in the mode of transportation I use. In other words, this is not down time, it is the gathering of more fodder for the mystery that will follow the one I have almost completed!
So, to all of you writer’s who think one day you have “made it” and can relax on your vacations, think again! You are in it for the along haul. You can’t help yourself. You see things differently than other’s do and absorb experiences that will enhance your writing and your reader’s expectations.
To us, vacation is more or less an uninterrupted pocket of time we invest in to gather our thoughts, fill out toolboxes with more tools and “feel” the environment around us. It’s our shot of adrenaline, a necessary drug that will enhance our stories.
Take some time off now and again to explore your backyard, your neighborhood, your country or the world and then write about what you have learned. You don’t need to call it vacation, as you’ll be working the whole time anyway!