I love my vacations. I love the flurry of packing and cleaning and setting everything in order to be gone for a while… and then leaving. Then, while on vacation, people look at me like I’m crazy while I type away on my laptop. No, I’m not getting caught up on a client’s work. In fact, I’m not guaranteed to ever make one penny on what I’m writing. So why in the world am I doing it?
For non-writers, understand that it’s not as simple as putting away the typewriter or laptop or fountain pen – whatever your writing implement of choice.
Remember when Stephen King said he was going to retire? This was well over ten years ago. I wondered how serious he was at the time: I certainly couldn’t imagine having a successful novel-publishing career and just giving it up.
In fact, King didn’t say he was going to quit writing at all, just that he thought he was almost done publishing. If you’ve read any Stephen King novels published since 2002, you’ll see that he’s apparently still not done. But even if he were to never publish another novel, I can’t imagine that he would quit writing. How many other professionals could do the same?
Consider people who have careers in the military or law enforcement, medical practitioners or pharmacists, teachers or professors – really, I could go on all day. Most professions are finis at retirement. You walk out the door, and you don’t come back. And until then, you take vacations, leaving all work behind for abbreviated periods of time.
But as with Stephen King, we writers have a somewhat different situation. While it’s absolutely appropriate to take a vacation from client work for a week or two, maybe even “retire” from the public scene, I never just leave my laptop at home or put my stories on the back burner.
My stories aren’t just going to take a vacation because I’m out of town. In fact, my NaNoWriMo novel, which I’m currently editing, woke me up early this morning, filling my head with new ideas. Sure, I could ignore them, try to recall them all in a couple weeks, but I’d likely forget them before then, not to mention that it would make me miserable to not work on my novel. In fact, I don’t even know if “work” is the appropriate word. Sure, I’ve spent a lot of time on it, but writing is a vacation in itself.
That’s not to say that I’m going to write to the exclusion of my family and our vacation plans. I’ll soak up the new experiences, laugh a lot, and sleep too little. But I will also take advantage of the time away to squeeze in as much extra writing as I can because I love it.
And, God willing, I hope to type away past retirement age and die with my fingers poised over the keyboard.