Monday, July 1, 2013

Writing on vacation, English-style

As a child, when my parents took us places, sightseeing was nonstop. We weren't those "It's Tuesday, it must be Belgium," type people--they didn't rush us through places--but the whole day we were expected to be somewhere, on the move. I thought all people traveled like this.

And then, in my mid-20s, I made British friends..and traveled with them. They took longer hikes "walks" than my parents...but they would also stop for tea. Often. They didn't have to "be somewhere" every moment, or every day. They knew how to take breaks. I was amazed. And ever since then, I have traveled half like my parents, half like my British friends.

So, what does this have to do with writing?

Well, here I am, I just joined the writers group three months ago and started writing my novel in progress again--and here I go off on vacation as soon as school lets out. To Ireland and England--and visiting the same friends who taught me how to travel sensibly. With all the beautiful places to see, I am tempted to travel like my parents--squeeze in a lot and not stop. But what I really envision doing--making myself do, as a serious writer---is to stopping for tea, long and work on the novel. Four or five two- or three-hour periods in a cafe in a 3-week period is reasonable. And I already know where. In Torquay (home of Agatha Christie, I believe). In Dawlish, close by. Once in Dublin, and once or twice in London. That's my goal. And I'm not taking my drafts. I'm a bit stuck to them now, and I think I need to leave them behind at home and move forward with my plot. In the back of my mind, the naysayer keeps saying, "But if you spend three hours in London writing, that's another museum/neighborhood you have missed!" But part of being a writer means writing--everywhere. Stopping whatever else you are doing, and writing.


  1. What a great goal! And who knows what inspiration will translate to on the page!

  2. Helen,

    I like your idea of leaving your drafts a home. Not only does it make your suitcase lighter, but starting fresh can sometimes be a successful experiment.

  3. And don't forget that J.K. Rowling wrote the plot line for all 7 HP novels on a train! Sometimes you can achieve great creative leaps when you're in transit, undisturbed by the tugs of everyday chores and familiar settings.