A busman’s holiday — doing on vacation the same type of activity as one would do on a regular work day — is considered to be no holiday at all. You know what I mean. A construction worker spends his annual holiday time building an addition to his garage, or the swim class instructor takes an island scuba holiday. But what about part-time or full-time writers?
Even when I’m away I tend to write something every day. It may be only a journal entry, or a few ideas in my notebook but writing is so ingrained that I can’t imagine leaving my characters behind, dismissing a promising bit of dialogue or the perfect description of an eccentric life guard just because I’m sitting on a beach and not in front of my computer.
But in a post earlier this week WordServe agent Rachelle Gardner talked about taking a two week vacation and choosing not to document it — deliberately not Tweeting about it, not taking photographs, reading blogs on her Blackberry but not joining in the conversations. She said, “I wanted to be in the moment, not talking about the moment, not observing the moment, not making notes or taking photos of it. I just wanted to inhabit this precious time with my family….It felt liberating and scary all at the same time. But in the end, it seemed like I’d had a deeper experience somehow. I interacted on a deeper level with my family because I was never stopping to capture something in words. I stayed continuously embedded in the here and now and consequently, I think I enjoyed it more.”
There are times when distancing ourselves from a story can be beneficial — when we need a break during difficult revisions or to put one story on hold because thoughts of another are pinging around in our heads like steel marbles in a pinball game — but how do you feel about totally disengaging from your writing because of a vacation or extended family visit?
When you leave home on vacation, do you take your writing with you or leave it behind? What are the benefits or disadvantages?