Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 16 August 2015

A Week Without Words

Many distractions...
I was going to write about words and how we hide behind them; but something got in the way. It’s called a holiday — and I suspect many of my fellow writers know that holidays are something we hide behind as well. I came away with my laptop; with a plan for a first draft (first few chapters complete); and a hard copy of a first draft, pending review. I had my editor’s red pen with me, together with a pile of notebooks (in the unlikely event that the laptop died and I ran out of paper) and I bagged the tiny room with a view of the garden as my study.

And then I didn’t do anything. Or not much, unless you count a rough thousand words that I daren’t read back, and a bizarre few hours spent flicking back through my published works and agonising about everything that I now realise is wrong with them.

You may think this is entirely reasonable, but for me it’s odd. Writing is a hobby. On a normal Sunday afternoon when there’s nothing else going on, I’ll rush for my laptop and scribble a few pages when everyone else is busy. I relax of an evening by doodling maps of fictional locations or drawing spiderweb diagrams of every character’s relationship with every other. 

And yet, on holiday, I don’t do it. I have tons of ideas, but I never write them up (or down). I wander around in a series of tiny dreams; and then I get back to wherever we’re staying and… reach for a Sudoku puzzle. Or flick through the nearest book. Or stare out of the window at the view (the English Lakes, this time, should you be interested, and a fine view it was, too).

It isn’t because there are distractions. There are distractions in everyday life as well, and I write around those — often, through them, or instead of dealing with them, because writing is a therapy as much as a relaxation. But maybe it’s the knowledge that there’s nothing I have to do that makes me do nothing — even when I want to.

I know I could be so much more productive while everyone else is snoozing in the garden or in front of the telly. But actually I wonder if my brain somehow understands that even a mind geared to writing needs a little break from time to time. 

If I’m honest I feel better for a week without words (of my own, at least). I’m refreshed and raring to go. Watch out, world!

Jennifer Young

12 comments:

  1. Sometimes, writing just doesn't happen. Sometimes, it takes over. We can be professional about it and write 9-4, Monday to Friday (or some people can), or we can go with the flow. Recently, I've decided to go with the flow - so on the few lovely days of summer we have had recently, I have sat in the garden or played golf. They are days we will never get back. I can write when it's raining, or snowing, or just plain dull.

    Glad you got a break, Jennifer!

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    1. So agree with everything you say here, Jenny.....says she from the garden!

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  2. Thanks, Jenny. I think it must have been good for me. I've just written 2k words since posting the blog!

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  3. I think your brain was telling you that you needed a holiday, Jennifer.

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    1. My brain always tells me that. Or maybe that's just the lazy toad in me? ;)

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  4. Agree we sometimes just need a break!

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    1. I did enjoy it -- and I'm refreshed and ready to go, so maybe it was a good thing after all.

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  5. I think unfamiliar environments make it difficult. I can write in a variety of places, as long as they are familiar but in a new place, my Muse is a bit on edge and can't settle. I think using the time for daydreams is best; they may translate into words when you get home.

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    1. You may be right, Lesley. I don't have any problem with the ideas - just the writing. But it's all part of the creative process, so I won't complain!
      Thanks for dropping by. :)

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  6. Sometimes our minds know us better than we think we know ourselves - and they just need a rest. As, for you, now. You will have absorbed everything around you without realising it and it will appear in print some day - oh yes it will!

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  7. Going on holiday for me means staying away from writing. I dream and commit everything to memory to be penned down when I get back.

    So now you are rested, you can get ready to be productive.
    Happy writing, Jennifer.

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