A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to have a break from the day job. The plan was to have the week to myself with the kids in school all day and nothing pressing on the agenda. My goal was to experiment with writing in the morning hours instead of stealing a few after the kids go to bed. I decided my vacation was to live the life of a what I imagine of a full-time writer. Here are some of the things I learned on my “writing staycation.”
The first glaring fact of this week off was the fact it really only boiled down to three days. The benefit of a holiday took the first three days to family time. On Tuesday, the public school district, with it’s tricky first day of school sham, was actually only an intro for an hour before shuffling the kids back home. WTH?!? When Wednesday arrived, I was chomping at the bit to send the kids up to school and get my writerly groove on. After typing away for a few hours at my dining room table, I needed a change of scenery. What writing staycation would be complete without a trip to Starbucks with the laptop. So I did. I looked pretentious as all people do who work while sipping on cappuccino, and pounded out a few pages in between baristas shouting orders. I tweeted a few lines of observations, gave some FB updates, and checked writing tips off their WiFi. For those two hours, I felt like a writer.
Thursday brought distractions. My full-speed ahead to knock out much needed pages was like walking through curing cement. Frustration turned into self-deprecation when I found myself tweeting more lines than adding to the work in progress. Needing more inspiration for creativity, I turned to cookies and books. When I wasn’t icing, I was reading Ashes. This may have seemed like a waste on a writing staycation, but it actually fueled the fire of creativity more than I thought it would. I got two blogs out of it and was pretty damned excited when I was able to send cookies of a lead character to the author.
By Friday, only the third day of the writing staycation, real life took over. Hubs and I had a date to meet up with another couple to enjoy a night out at a concert in the park of Men Without Hats, Human League and the B-52s. Although I got in a couple of pages, most of the day was spent prepping food and drinks.
In the end, I didn’t finish the novel which I had grand visions of doing before the week began. It would have required the commitment of constant writing the entire week. It could be done, and some have done it, but it’s not the type of writer I want to be. I enjoy these other things in my life because they add to the person I am, which translates to the characters I create.
I did set some ground rules before starting out that included not being distracted by laundry and household chores. (It was more difficult than I imagined.) In the end, the staycation was nothing like I thought it would be when I started. (Kinda similar to stories with a rough outline, but take on something different when applied.) But it doesn’t mean it was a waste or I didn’t get something great out of it. The biggest takeaway was the experience of living like it was my full-time job, even if it was for a short time. I learned my current status of full-time employment, wife, and mother of two works just as well because this is the writer I have am.