Over the last couple of years, job constraints and financial strains have come together to make the family’s usual Beach Week impossible. This year, however, thanks to a couple of really stellar months of e-publishing sales (thank you, KDP Select! ) We’re going to be able to make it. So, if all goes as planned, this time next week will find me with my toes in the sand and my Big Bag O’Books in a beachfront house at North Carolina’s beautiful Caswell Beach.
And I am ready. Boy Howdy, am I ready. I’m ready to take my watch off and spend some time either lying on the sand or bobbing aimlessly about in the water all day, chowing down on seafood every night, and generally not giving a damn about anything other than whether we need to make a run to Southport for another case of Fat Tire and another gallon jug of sunscreen.
But with the delicious anticipation of a week off comes my usual nagging dilemma: does “getting away from it all” mean getting away from writing as well? For years, I used the downtime to get some work done on the latest project. In fact, the first few chapters of my first book, THE DEVIL’S RIGHT HAND, came together during a Beach Week, when I pulled together a few fragments I had floating around and combined them with an idea I’d had on the drive down. Big chunks of both GOOD DAY IN HELL and SAFE AND SOUND were written during Beach Weeks, when I hauled the laptop out on the deck (or into an unused bedroom) and hammered away at the keyboard during the hours when it was just too damn hot to be out on the sand.
But one of the things about this self-publishing gig is that all your deadlines are self-imposed. I don’t have an editor waiting impatiently, except the one in my head. I could take a week off and not fall behind.
Or can I? See, if I don’t write, I feel guilty. That editor may be only in my head, but he’s a judgmental little sucker. The idea of slacking off for a week, especially in mid-project as I am now, has him shaking his imaginary finger at me and asking if I still think I really have the dedication it takes to do this professionally. (Why no, I’m not well. Not at all. Why do you ask?)
On the other hand, maybe a week off will recharge the batteries. Maybe letting some of these ideas simmer in my unconscious will allow them to become deeper and richer.
In the end, I’ll probably end up doing what I always do…compromise and take my notebook and pen along. And I’ll write. Because, as a fellow writer once put it, I write because I can’t not do it.
How about you, fellow Thalians? Have any suggestions about what I should do? Do you take vacations at all? And when you do, do you spend any or all of the time typing or scribbling, or whatever it is you do to get the words and images out of your head and onto the page? Is it possible, or even desirable, to shut it off for a week?