Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Working Vacation

Dear Reader,

Over the past week I’ve been hard at writing and doing it full time. You see I’ve been on a vacation of sorts. Not the type where you pack up your bags and board a liner bound for the great mysterious somewhere else or even the jump in the car, point the steering wheel in some random direction, and figure out what to do once you get there kind. I’ve been on a working vacation.

The gist of the working vacation is simple. You take time off work so that you can – work. In my case that means taking time off the bread and butter job to hammer out a few chapters in the new novel. Yes, I’ve traded days stuck in the office, staring at a computer screen for days in the home office, staring at a computer screen. For variety I huddle over a journal, penning passages that later are translated into the computer. It’s a thrilling life that only those with a strong constitution should endeavor to undertake.

I guess the general point, though, is the whole work angle of writing has really come home to me this week. It’s one thing to steal an hour during lunch or between doing this or that to pen a few paragraphs but a whole new animal to sit down at a desk with the whole day spread out before you and nothing but the story to kill the hours. Wonderful things happen when you’re that free but then, not so wonderful things do too. What’s more, you make interesting discoveries about yourself and your writing style.

I’ve discovered just how much I need change to write effectively. Many authors need a stable, quiet environment in which to do their best writing. They thrive on consistency, on feeling at peace. Personally, I need to shake it up a little to get the words flowing. I write well in a car or on a plane, I get a lot of good out of alternating between composing at the computer and in longhand, essentially I need to harvest the energy that comes with change. This doesn’t mean I can’t create while sitting in my office in the quiet. On the contrary, that is the time I get my editing, rethinking, reimagining, and refining done. While I can pen a new chapter while wedged behind the wheel of my car parked in a lot behind the local supermarket during lunch hour, I can’t edit for squat under those same conditions.

I like to think this makes me an interesting author. I’m not sure, maybe it really just makes me quirky. Regardless it reinforces something a writing instructor once said to me. There is no one right way to write – do what you need to do and you’ll get the most out of your talent

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