The 40k Vacation

I just spent a relaxing vacation writing approximately forty thousand words for a novel. Yes, very relaxing indeed.

Actually, the vacation wasn’t that relaxing. We had three kids with us. The bed was tiny and lumpy, causing uneven sleeping. Our youngest ran a fever a good chunk of the week (teething) causing him to cry through chunks of the night, further limiting our sleep. The other two children were psycho on the level of Joker on speed, which made the days less than restful.

BUT!

Somehow, through it all, I stole away and wrote. After the older two went to bed. In the morning while grandma contained most of their insanity. Every little nook and cranny, I wrote.

My father-in-law thought I was insane. “Vacation’s for relaxing, but if that’s what helps you relax…” and he’d shrug and go out to the dock with his fishing pole.

Now, I did spend a good chunk of time with my family. We went fishing. We caught frogs and turtles. We went hiking in some rugged terrain. I took my eldest son on a fun adventure through some back trails. We went out for ice cream and took pictures at tourist traps.

And through it all… I wrote.

People who don’t write don’t get it. There’s something about the act of creation that helps a writer relax. It’s an escape from this world even through the birthing pains of creating a new one.

So, yeah, I wrote 40k in about five days. That also includes one run-through of editing, so it’s not just a rough draft (though not terribly more than that). The first draft of my next novel is done, and I’m thrilled. Some friends are reading it and making copious amounts of comments for me, which will propel me through the next draft. In the meantime, I’m hoping to write at least one piece of flash fiction to send out for publishing and hopefully a piece or two of fiction for this very here blog.

But that’s the future. I look back on my vacation, and I see… something wonderful.

Yeah, I see time with the kids. That’s a highlight. I loved taking my son through back roads and seeing his face as he explored. Seeing my daughter catch her first fish filled my eyes with delight. My wife’s face as she pulled a turtle into shore made me laugh. My mother-in-law’s cooking made my belly smile, even as my father-in-law and I sang “Red Solo Cup” together around some hard ciders.

But… I wrote. I wrote so much. I released so many ideas from my brain and vomited them onto digital paper and arranged the pieces into something that may even be a story with characters and plot. I’ll let my critics decide that one, though the initial reactions I’ve been getting are good.

You see, you non-writers, while you relax by doing nothing… writers relax by writing. Please don’t deprive us of that. I thanked my bride constantly for allowing me so much time to write… but it revitalized me. If I had not done that writing, sure, it would have been a vacation. Sure, I stepped away from usual responsibilities. But my heart would not have danced. I would not have accomplished anything. And I would not have created. It would have been a vacation… a vacation without color.

So, thank you again to my bride for allowing me that time to write.

I need another week off to write again soon. Wow!

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3 responses to “The 40k Vacation

  1. It is a hard thing to get across to non-writers, indeed, the relaxation that comes from a good long couple hours of writing. Sometimes when I sit down to write, after about 20 minutes my wife will ask me, “So, how long were you planning on writing yet tonight?” as though I’ve scheduled a task and set a time limit to it. But that’s a bit like asking, “How long are you planning on laying in the hammock sipping a cold drink and reading a good book?” People just don’t schedule those kind of things!

    The other challenge I usually face is that even though I know it will relax me to do it, I put it off because I feel tired beforehand, and some part of me says, “But it’s mentally taxing, isn’t it? So if I’m already tired, how could I want to do it?” That’s kind of foolish, though, since all too often when I actually work at it, what I end up with is better than when I’m fresh and alert and mentally on my game. Because when I am, I start editing, and then I don’t make forward progress.

    • I go back and forth on the writing-while-tired. Sometimes it really does help with the flow of words… and sometimes it just means deleting everything!

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