Do You Take A Vaca From Writing?

I’ve gotta tell you, I don’t. Not really and never intentionally. I might not write something everyday, but I am working. Here’s what I mean. Some days I write thousands of words. Some days I revise, cut, and edit the words. Some days I spend hours reading pages from my critique group or friends I trade pages with. Some days are spent on social media. I get sucked in, chatting and ranting and laughing with authors and writers and friends, and the actual writing never happens. I blog. And I read. I read a LOT. So, do I take a day off? No. I love it, all of it and I find myself seeking time to do all of the above things. I can’t help it. I don’t schedule it into my day. It just happens. It’s my life. On the treadmill, I plot. To me, this is part of writing. While I make dinner, I lean over a book on the counter and devour an exciting new story.

I don’t condone this behavior. It’s completely obsessive. No one’s life should be so wrapped up in one thing….should it? I don’t know. I mean, it works for me. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been. If you tend to beat yourself up for not writing more, remember actual words on a page isn’t the only measure of your writing. To hone your craft, you must read. Reading is like food to writers. Reading published works, reading about writing, it all counts. Brainstorming counts too. Even if you’re sitting in a bubble bath thinking, “I wonder if my MC ever takes a bubble bath?” It counts. Keep those creative juices flowing. When you do have a minute to write, you’re less likely to spend it staring at a blank screen.

How about you? Do you take a writing/reading/blogging/industry vaca?

12 comments to Do You Take A Vaca From Writing?

  • EL

    Only when there’s writer’s block, which does occasionally happen. I always try to write something, and I don’t try to push the writing either because that only seems to lead to frustration for me as a writer and kind of cuts off the desired spark.

    I love reading though. Reading a book, a blog post, even watching a TV show seems to spark ideas into my mind. I’m kind of all over the place, but I like it because that kind of forces me not to focus on one thing and allows me to kind of experience it all at the same time. But in that regard I always joke that my mind tends to work on story ideas faster than time itself.

  • I never take a vacation from writing! I’m always working, because as you said, even thinking about your book and brainstorming counts. Technically between one project and another I haven’t had a day off in 11 years! I prefer days when my word count bumps up than any other days, but the editing and the researching and thinking are all good too.

  • I took a forced reading vacation, one book “for me” in the last four years. I call it “having kids.”

  • I used to be afraid of taking any time off from writing, that I’d “lose the plot” and never get it back. But once I stopped fearing time away from writing, I found I became more prolific and better at it.

  • I hate taking vacations from writing; it makes me antsy. LOL In between novels I read others’ works (critiquing or published books). But it’s good to take (small) breaks–we gotta live life in between so we have something to write about! Nice to visit your blog here! ;o)

  • SWurner

    I think for some people it can be good to take small breaks from writing to inspire new stories to come but I do completely understand where you are coming from. If I am not writing I am usually making stories up in my head, brainstorming, thinking of books I read, and reading constantly. Obsession is good I think though, it means you are passionate and if you aren’t passionate about writing why do it?

  • I try to take writing breaks, but I can’t. Whenever I take a break, I’ll be bombarded by ideas and I just can’t help but work on them. It’s like the mob, just when I think I’m out, it pulls me back in.

  • I feel the same way. I read, I write, I plot, I edit and do it all over again. Love it! For those who are to leave their computer to run to the grocery store, keep a small notebook with you and when an idea hits, write it down. See, writing! I actually outlined 12 chapters of my next novella while sitting at my daughter volleyball practice. Thanks Julie for a wonderful post!

  • I did take a vacation from writing. 15 years long. Oy. I do not recommend. I got really lost between college, when I was writing all the time, and now. I liked my job in dot.com era and I learned some awesome skills that I still use everyday (was a web programmer) but it was not a career for me because it wasn’t my passion. After quitting that job and having two kids, I feel confident to come back now. I often wonder how long my love affair with writing will last this time, and I hope it’s forever.

  • I definitely know exactly what you’re saying. I used to beat myself up for not ACTUALLY writing something down on a regular basis. Luckily, I have learned more about myself and how to truly write and create, whether it’s me typing the words in my script…or just pondering different ideas and scenarios for my characters. You saying you’ve never been happier is something else I totally relate to right now. I recently had an epiphany that about blew my mind…and now writing makes me so incredibly happy. I don’t call your love for writing and the written word an obsession…no way. It’s your PASSION. This is what you do, who you are, and what you love. To fill your time with those things, to celebrate your core beliefs and joys, is to truly live. Good on you. Great post, Julie. – David

  • Jon Nash

    Great blog post. Timely for me as I am about to embark on my first vacation in a year. But I see things as you do. My passion for writing happens every day, whether I’m editing my first novel, learning lots from my fellow twitter peeps, posting a new blog, thinking about my next story, reading a novel or writing these words. I’d go crazy if I didn’t do at least one of these things every day. So I don’t take a vacation from writing, although writing itself feels like a vacation from life for me (and I have a great life!).

  • It is almost impossible to take a vacation from writing. One is able to take a vacation from typing or using a pen, but the creative mind never switches itself off. Stories fill our heads, and ideas drop into them all the time. It is a never ending wheel of creativity, that writers neither are able to take a break from, or ever feel the need to.

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