Thursday, July 5, 2012

Make Vacation Work For You

Vacations, don’t you just love them? Does the thought of leaving behind the everyday drudge of life and finding excitement in new locales stir your creative juices? Or maybe you’d rather just laze around and enjoy peace, quiet and a good book? Kinda makes you sigh, huh?

Since we’re a bunch of writers and readers, I think the second option sounds great, but so does the idea of spending uninterrupted time writing. Absolutely delicious are intentions of 1K1HR all day long, but does it ever happen that way? If you’re anything like me, the week ahead looks so promising, but if you're not careful, by the end of the time, you have nothing to show for your best intentions except a lot of regret and frustration because you haven’t accomplished your goal.

Having read Tina’s blog and comments for In Praise of the Day Job, I realized there is a lot to be said for stability and routine, so let’s discuss ways to make your vacation time productive rather than wasteful.

·         Establish your goals. It’s easy to say I’M GOING to finish the book I’ve been working on, but actually doing it is something else entirely. Let’s face it, unless you’re a writing machine like Nora Roberts who has disciplined her day to writing X amount of words in order to produce a ba-billion books a year, chances are you are not going to come out on the other end of your vacation week with a completed, polished manuscript. When you think in vague perimeters, you open yourself up to failure and that’s definitely not what we’re looking for. How about putting it into perspective? Maybe finish roughing out a synopsis to reflect all the GMC points necessary to write the book? Or, how about a self-motivated BIAW to just blah out the rough draft? Maybe work on polishing those first 3 chapters for our upcoming ACFW conference? Pick a concrete goal and work on completing it.

·         Be realistic of others’ demands on your time. Don’t we all wish for solitary confinement somewhere like Seekerville Island? Nothing but a hut, a cabana person to prepare and serve meals, the soft ocean breeze stirring the creative juices? Good luck with that. Always factor in the disruptions you know will derail you and then anticipate those that will haunt you. For example, I’ve taken this week off to write…except I need to help my daughter move to another town 3 hours away where she’s accepted a teaching position (yay); my cousin’s birthday falls on the 4th of July; my son’s birthday is Saturday. Three major events that will bite chunks of time out of my week, but since I acknowledge them (LOL), I’m prepared for the disruptions. The hauntings come into play in packing up my daughter’s stuff and the drive time, making desserts for the 4th of July celebration, and shopping for son’s B-day present.

·         Categorize your time in small chunks. Since I’m used to a routine of responsibility in my day job, I find it best to maintain the same during a working vacation. I still get up at 5:30 am and have my God time and check in with online courses I’m taking. I slot in an hour a day to do housework I’ve neglected over the past MONTHS. I make time to devote at least an hour of writing in the morning, afternoon and evening. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot of time when you look at a whole week off, but if I keep my date with those 3 hours a day, they not only expand into more time, but it’s also triple the time I normally allot to writing during normal days. Three times more writing time.

Enough from me since this is my vacation time : ), but I hope I’ve given you something to think about. Nothing is worse than wasting precious time. When you approach your goals realistically, it’s amazing what grows from it.

What tricks do you have up your sleeves when it comes to using vacation time to its best advantage? Do share and let’s see if we can all become productive with the least amount of stress.

Since we’re smack in the middle of summertime, how about a gift certificate to Starbucks? Leave a comment and a $15 gift certificate to Starbucks might be in your future!!


  1. I can't believe I'm still awake and first on my own blog day, LOL!

  2. Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July and enjoyed all the firework displays around the country.

  3. Hi Audra,
    I'm here too at this late hour, and glad to read your post. I always take my stuff with me, but when I'm traveling I never seem to accomplish as much as I'd hoped. I have to keep reminding myself that at least it's another step forward. Thanks for the post!

  4. Audra, this is so perfectly timed for me. I'm a teacher so I have the whole summer off. Looking at the upcoming two months, I'm full of hope for all I can accomplish, but I know too well that thinking like that will allow me to fritter away time. I just set my alarm for the morning to start off on the right track.

    Thanks so much for this!

  5. I have taken lately to making sure that I pu in writing time on my lunch hour or before work. The target is 500 words per day. I just hit the 10,000 word plateau on my new Americana manuscript.

  6. I watched Cardinals baseball and then the Boston Pops this evening. Both were enjoyable.

    I guess things are backward for me.

    Since I no longer teach, I have the whole year off--neener, neener, neener--and can write pretty much when I want. Or can get myself motivated.

    Vacation is when we go see the kids or friends, and I can't write then.

    The coffee pot's set for the early birds.


  7. dont enter me firstly cos I dont drink Coffee secondly we dont have a starbucks.

    A vacation sounds device to me right now. I have to say when I go I have great plans to read (like in Hawaii) and ended reading a little on the plane home. But when I went to Melbourne and Adelaide for the cricket I read heaps. I think it depends what type of vacation you are taking as to what you will get done.
    I haven't read a book in almost 8 days and that is so unheard of for me. but I will.

  8. Thanks for this, Audra. Although, like Helen, I'm retired, I still look forward to "the lazy days of summer" all year long and then am disappointed at how quickly they pass.

    I like your concept of setting specific achievable goals rather than larger vague ones. We'd probably all like to finish some major project, but it's easier to tackle it in smaller chunks... plus, small successes build enthusiasm to try for more.

    I usually get more reading done when we're away in the RV, but not as much writing. I plan to change that this summer. :)

  9. Well, I don't really get a vacation but this week and last week, my HUSBAND took vacation time.

    What does this mean for me? Writing time! He was outside working on building a new shed for most of the day time hours, but here is where it's different:

    Usually he gets up at 3:45 AM, which means we all have to be quiet/in bed/getting to bed by 9PM. Except the baby, who likes to stay up until midnight. (Don't ask.)I can't really write and entertain him, so I wait until he's asleep.

    SOOOOO, this week and last, when hubby was up late, then the baby can hang with him for an hour or so! YAY!

    I've gotten about 14K done in the last week and a half becuase he was on vacay!

  10. MARY! You are not allowed to fritter away the time! I'm waiting for those pages...

    Plus, I know for a fact you worked like crazy the last few weeks. :)

  11. Audra, great advice. I use this same advice for young parents who lament their kids' weekend sleeping habits.

    Keep them in the routine... and if they're already in the routine of waking early, thank God for it because everything goes smoother with that established flow.

    Same works for us writers. Day by day, keep the flow going, moving, growing. I love short bursts of fast writing once I have a scene in my head, but I can't spend a weekend writing. I have to get up and walk away. Your idea of the three hours is exactly what I do. And it might end up being more like four, two two-hour stretches with a long "get something done" in between, but it's a huge help in driving my word count. With 1K/day over five days and 5K/weekend, that's 10K/week.

    10K/week is 520,000 words per year.

    That's a lot of words and a lot of books.

    Great advice to keep the vacation time on a schedule. I'm not a laid back person when it comes to time off, much to my family's chagrin!

    Pray for them, LOL!

  12. WALT!!!! YES!!!!!

    Snatch whatever time you can... and giving up sleep rocks once you get used to it!

    It's amazing how those words add up. Page by page, my friend!

  13. Jenny! You sound like you're feeling better! Thank you, God! And may he keep his healing hand on you, strengthening you, blessing you!

    So good to hear from you with that old "Jenny" note in your voice!

  14. Carol, Sandra is our RV writer. They travel a lot in the summer and she writes wherever they are.

    Go for it, girl. You can do this. And it makes you feel like you've accomplished something, even if it's in splits and splashes.

  15. Great now Ruthy is calling me old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel better than yesterday still very tired. hung and brought in the washing and that wiped me out. The headache has eased. I am off to bed had to wait to take meds. Thanks for the prayers they are appreciated. I didn't have nightmares last night and feel so much better about things.
    My neighbours daughter is cooking spaghetti Bolognese for me for lunch tomorrow. Still not up to reading but maybe tomorrow.

  16. A vacation would be nice. My husband started a new job in December 2011 and he doesn't have any vacation time coming this summer. We are hoping to get away for a long week-end maybe around labor day or perhaps at Thanksgiving time. After the death of my Mom on January 27th of this year I need to get out of this city for awhile. I can't go to Wal-mart without passing the road where Mom use to live. My mind is still tormented with grief until I have rung myself out. So yes, a get away would be nice.

    No fireworks for us last night. We have a burning ban in our county as well as all surrounding counties. We didn't even hear one fire cracker going off this year. There is a stiff fine for those who would have shot off their own fireworks. We may just have to wait until next year if we don't get the much needed rain and the relief from this heat wave. It has been going on for weeks now. We do know that God is in Control and he will take care of us. His word tells us so.

    Blessings to all!

  17. What a perfectly timed post because -- tada!!! -- I'm off on vacation until the last week in August!!!! Well, I have two days that I have to go in to work sometime during that but otherwise I'm footloose and fancy free!

    It started this week but I have to admit I haven't gotten as much done as I thought. Bad planning on my part. Who knew there would be record heat and humidity (I don't have air conditioning) and that I'd get a decorating bug which involves moving every stick of furniture in my house to a new location? I'm slow as molasses in the heat so my poor abode is still upside down and backwards. But I'm excited because I've added a new bookcase and now all the books piled on every flat surface in my house can find a permanent home!!!

    Ahem -- my secret to vacation writing is getting up at the same time I do when I go to work. All right, so I slept in until 5:30 this morning but that was an anomaly -- honest. I walk the dog and plot (when we have no squirrel sightings) then come home, have brekkie while purusing blogs. I write between 7:00 and 9:00 and then take a break for a gardening (and chase squirrels up a tree)stint. Then head back in and write for another hour - to hour and half until lunch. This week, I've spent the afternoons hauling furniture and vanquishing dust bunnies the size of Newfoundland dogs, but starting next week I'm going to add in another two hours in the afternoon. Unless it's horrid and hot in which case I'll plunk down in front of the fan in a stupor and break a sweat turning pages of a book off my TBR list.

    Now, doesn't that sound like a divine vacation????

  18. Hi Audra,

    Thanks for sharing with us today.

    You've given me some good pointers for everyday, not just vacation days.

    My favorite for the moment was when you said, "Maybe finish roughing out a synopsis to reflect all the GMC points necessary to write the book?"

    I've been jotting down ideas and creating characters and considering a rough plot. I think now I need to hit the plot.

    Enjoy the rest of your vacation week.

    Jackie L.

  19. For me, there doesn't seem to be vacation even when I'm off work b/c I still have the kids (ages 2 and 4) and they are demanding :)...Yesterday I took my little notebook and plotted on paper while sitting in the car outside of Lowes (they went inside), I filled up a bathtub for the kids later and sat 6 feet back to avoid the splash and wrote while they squealed. Today, after last night's festivities, I'm up writing while everyone else is sleeping. So I guess my secret is salvaging the scraps of time and trying to make them add up.

  20. Audra,

    I seldom take vacations from my day job where I get to just stay home (I used to do it all the time)but when we are traveling, I take a notebook and write long hand while my huband drives.

    However, if have a deadline, I try to write 1000 words in an evening. Like Ruthy, I can write about 1000 words in a hour IF I have the scene in my head. If I don't it's usually between 650 & 750 words.

    But on the weekend, I've gotten into the practice of writing at least an hour, then doing something else, like house work for an hour, going back to the writing for an hour, etc.

    It seems to work well for me.

  21. (((hugs)))) Jenny. The reading will come back. I know any time I've had a baby, been ill, had surgery, had a family member have surgery or been in the hospital, I had a hard time reading. I guess concentrating is hard when you've been through trauma.

    Judy, thanks for sharing about the fireworks. Last night as I lay awake because of all the noise outside, I was wondering if people respected the ban in the dry places. Some idiot in my neighborhood shot off a blast of fireworks around 2am. It was so loud and bright it woke me up - and that was with the AC on! Glad to hear that smarter heads prevailed where needed. I'm sorry about your mom. I'll keep you in my prayers.

    I'm writing, Virginia. I am. Promise. Can we keep your husband on vacation for the rest of the month?

    Annie, ah I remember those days well. Sneaking writing time while the girls were at dance class, indulging in a half hour at the cafe across from their school while I waited to pick them up, staying up into the wee hours because my story captivated me. Funny, then writing was my escape and I cherished my time.

    Happy Thursday, Seekerville. Am I the only one feeling like it's Monday?

  22. Rose, I think that's what I have to do this summer. Write an hour, do something else, write an hour, etc.

    I planned to get up early this morning and keep to my morning schedule but thanks to the fireworks I mentioned above, I didn't get to sleep til around 2:30. I've already walked the dog and had coffee but my brain is still trying to wake up.

  23. AUDRA - You're so right -- sticking with a routine when you're trying to slip writing time into you "staycation" is so important. I took this week off, too, and it's been so tempting to "accidentally" forget to set the alarm for 4 a.m. But guess what? I'm staying true to my routine and have made solid progress toward my goal for the week. I set a timer for breaks--to take a walk, pay bills, check email, fix lunch, clean house, organize papers, do laundry, etc. Then back to work I go for another timed writing session. I'm loving it and should be in good shape to keep up the momentum when the vacation days are over!

  24. I can't believe Helen said neener, neener, neener. LOL

  25. Walt! You're writing something set in America? SWEET!!!

  26. Balance, it is all about balance. I have all the time in the world to write but don't have set vacation time.

    After doing a blitz last week, I gave myself a 4th of July holiday to read, read, read for nothing but pleasure.

    I am now in the midst of planning my research trip to DC next week to visit the Washingtoniania collection. Brilliant timing. I am having to make sure the power is on at the DC Library.

    I am thinking this is sort of a reverse vacation. I will be working solid for three days finding those little known facts about plot points I haven't even come up with yet!

    Jenny, so glad you are doing better.

    Mary and Virginia, y'all are leaving me in the dust.

    Walt and Ruthy, I think, after doing the blitz, I am far more like you. Steady bits seem to work for me best!

    Peace, Julie

  27. JENNY! I'm so glad the headache is gone. Day by day you'll be stronger. God bless you, girl.

  28. JUDY! I'm so sorry about your mom. It may be too soon for anything to help, but when my dad died I found great comfort in Isaiah 40:31
    But those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

    I finally reached a day when I could picture my dad, who had been failing and so sick for so long, dying of cancer, being lifted up to heaven on wings like eagles. I could picture him young and strong again, able to run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.
    As much as I missed him, I found great peace in that verse with that mental picture.

  29. I'm with Helen - I've retired from my day job (homeschooling - it isn't hard to retire when your job gives you no cash income), and my schedule is my own.

    So I follow my schedule and write about three hours a day. Another two hours is for reading/research, and then the rest is for housework, cooking, taking care of the family, etc.

    But even with a schedule (and the discipline to follow it), I don't get much of anything done unless I use your tip of making small, specific goals. Even when you have time set aside, vague goals just don't encourage production of words or ideas!

    Have a happy day after, everyone! I'm off to walk the dog before it gets too hot.

  30. Hey, Auds, GREAT TIPS ... and not just for vacation, either!!

    LOL ... I don't go on many vacations, but ironically, the thing I want to do on them when I do go is ... WRITE ... and READ, but the other folks on the vacation don't seem to like that idea too much, so I can see myself sticking to a plan like you've outlined here.

    Of course, since my hubby and I work at home, I'm fortunate enough to have a more time to write than someone who holds down a full- or part-time job!! You people absolutely AMAZE me with what you get done in such a short period of time!!

    Still praying for peace and productivity for you this week, my friend, and hoping you have a GREAT week!!


  31. I can relate to the pack it up and take it with me syndrome. My family used to laugh because I brought more writing stuff than clothing, LOL! Did I ever get anything done? Rarely. But I was prepared.

    That counts for something, doesn't it?

  32. YAY teachers! Good for you, Mary. My daughter just moved to her very first teaching position. Unfortunately she has an 11 month contract, but it's doing what she loves so you can't beat that.

    I haven't had a whole summer off in years, Mary. Kinda makes me wish I was a SAHM again...NOT! I didn't get anything done when the kids were home, LOL!

    Make the most of your summer!!

  33. Go Walt, Go!! I hate plateaus, writing and weight. But we get past them and beyond.

    500 consistant words a day is great!!

  34. Helen, thank you for your service as a teacher. You deserve your time off.

    Great coffee. I've brought raspberry, blueberry and white chocolate coffee cake to snack on in honor of our nation's birthday.


  35. LOL, Jenny. Haven't read a book in 8 days? I've made a dent in my TBR pile over the last 8 days : )

    It's so easy for me to turn to books as a diversion. I need to write more than read right now.

    What a tangled web : )

  36. You got it, Carol. Small chunks; small goals. I get discouraged when I don't see immediate results on some level.

    That's when I grab a Seeker book and just walk away...

  37. LOL, Virginia. I can so relate to Hubby getting time off making more time for me to write. Gary usually has a few months off in the winter, so I get big chunks of writing done instead of necessary housework : )

    Ahhh, I love a man who does laundry : )

  38. We're going camping for 4 days next week, but that's including coming and going. So 2 1/2 days. This time I picked a spot without a big outlet mall and other distractions! I'm going to just read and write. For me, no distractions is the key to a high word count.

  39. You're not a laid back person, Ruthy? I never noticed that about you, LOL!

    When the kids were home, it was easy for me to keep them on schedule, not so much me. Now day job keeps me on schedule, it's just shifting gears from 8-10 hours at work to 2-3 hours of writing at night.

    Oh yeah, and husband time. I can't forget that!!

    Honey, your family is always prayed for...

  40. I don't have any thing to offer here except I agree with how Rose and Audra work. I try to spread it out through the day and alternate with cooking, housework, or, one of my favorite ways to spend a staycation--a nap! Just for 20-30 minutes and then onto the next thing. I love to nap!

    Please put me in for the drawing--they just opened another Starbucks the Target down the road!

    Prayers and good thoughts for Jenny and Judy both,


  41. Jenny, don't you just want to swat Ruthy at times?? By normal standards, we are not old...but if you ever take a morning walk with Ruthy, trying to keep up with her makes you feel ANCIENT!!

  42. I'm Snoopy dancin' for your husband's job, Judy! Get a year under his belt then enjoy stress-free time off.

    I'm so sorry over your mom's passing. I know how you feel, it leaves such an empty hole. When my parents died, I didn't think I could ever string together word beyond See Spot Run.

    Prayers for peace are with you!

  43. I think all of Colorado is under a fireworks ban. My town had a display, but we didn't attend. What a hot summer.

    Bring on winter!!

  44. LOL--"vacation" and "write" are two words I've never used together in the same sentence!

    "Vacation" and "research," on the other hand, is pretty much par for the course, at least to some extent. I spent at least half of our trip to Hot Springs a few weeks ago poring over materials at the historical society and walking downtown looking at old buildings that might appear in the post-WWI series I'm writing for Abingdon.

    Anyway, when your husband is semi-retired, EVERY day is a potential vacation day--for him, anyway. I've had to make it perfectly clear that I cannot and will not drop my writing plans any old time he wants to go to a movie or play tourist somewhere.

  45. Kav, you are living my dream vacation time! Except for the lack of AC -- that would kill me.

    I love moving furniture around. I go to the ReStore and buy a good deal and then try to figure out where to put it, LOL! Usually that good deal is in the form of a bookcase or side table so much like you, all my little book friends have a home.

    LOL! Enjoy your vakay and stick to your schedule!!

  46. Audra, your blog today was timely! The summer is rushing by, much too fast!!!

    Seems everyone needs me these days! LOL

    The WIP calls and I'm off buying furniture with daughter who will soon leave the nest. Go figure!

    Love your goal of writing three hours each day.

    Happy Birthday to your son!!!

    Hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth!

    We watched our great fire department give demos about fire safety and the jaws of life. Then a deluge hit and we ran for cover. :)

    GA needs rain so it was all good.

  47. Rule of thumb:
    A harsh summer leads to a harsh winter

    that'll be fun! :(

  48. Audra, what a timely post! Three months ago during Speedbo, I opened a furniture resale store. I went from lazy writing days with the kids in school to jammed backed days filled with managing the store, trips to estate auctions, entertaining the kids and searching writing time. Oh, and did I mention two weeks of church camp? My blog has suffered, daily word count nose dived, and my thirteen year old son is doing his own laundry. I need a schedule.

    Ruthy, amid the chaos before I had a meltdown, I stole away four hours and read A Family to Cherish on Kindle. It was wonderful. I truly loved the two little girls, very realistic characters. I can’t wait to read more seeker books. If I ever find the time?

  49. Look at the Gor. Gee. Ous. pic up there!!! Love it Audra, dear!

    What classes are you taking? I'm showing 1776 in class RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE!


    I only work two days a week but with kids home, the other three days are half washed out anyway...

    Once the school year starts, I'll have 3 days a week at home to write. Unless I get another job...

    This week, though, working on getting the MS done for a full request. Today, I'm headed to the library for about 5 hours. Tomorrow and Saturday, I'll be spending most of the day at Panera and think I can get my rough draft out.

    And since I'm showing a movie, I need to get working... :D

  50. Jackie, good job of hitting the high points of your GMC and now on to the plotting. I'm rearranging my current WIP -- you know, moving a scene here, eliminating one there -- to try and make sense of my sequencing.

    Stupid sequencing. It'll get me every time.

  51. Good for you, Annie! You're doing it rather than just thinking about it. Now that's concrete use of your time.

    I went through the same thing when my kids were young. The day my youngest started full-day school was a day of rejoicing for me.

    Funny, now I rejoice when they leave to go back to college -- in a good way, of course : )

  52. I'm with you, Rose. I scribble when I don't have a keyboard and snatch bits and pieces of time when I can.

    Problem is, I can't just sit and write for 8 hours a day even if had maid-chef-masseuse service waiting on me hand and foot. Would be nice, but not conducive to getting words on paper : )

  53. Of course, if you PLAN to be a slacker that's okay, right????


  54. Hey Ms. Slacker. Didn't you just turn a book in? Slacking allowed - for a day or so - and if you plan it! ;)

    I slack therefore I am.

  55. Excellent post, Audra! Love how much you accomplish and plan your vacation days!

    We had a lovely 4th of July picnic with family and friends! So hot but a snow cone machine and squirt guns helped keep the kids happy.

    We've got grandkids visiting. Had a sleepover last night. The boys are golfing, the girls are shopping. In this heat, who's smarter? :-)


  56. Jenny, relieved to hear you're doing better. Take care of you. The laundry will wait.


  57. That moment you get when you try to go on Seekerville at least 10 times, because every other websites except this one, was working. (Internet problems..ugh!)
    BUT now that I've finally gotten through, I'm glad, because Audra that was a very good post! :)
    Everything you said was so true and I'm thinking friend, you've probably been reading my mind. AND yes, finishing a book is in my summer plan. *sigh* Easier said than done.

    Happy to see you there, Audra! I always enjoy reading your posts.

    Have a GREAT summer everyone! :-)


  58. Audra, such great advice! I need to be better about setting concrete goals. Concrete ACHIEVABLE goals. Like you said, you have to be realistic about everything that's on your schedule.

    Yay for your daughnter's new job!!

  59. Jenny, I'm glad you're getting better! don't push yourself. You'll get your strength back soon!

  60. Judy, I'm so sorry for your loss, and for how difficult the healing has been. I'll be praying for you.

  61. Kav, that does sound divine!! Enjoy your summer break!!

  62. Bridgett, I just woke my kids up to do their laundry. They still have dirty stuff from their mission trip last week!

    I figure they need to learn to do it themselves. My son has been doing his own for a while. My daughter has resisted. So today, I'm teaching her (again) how to do it!

  63. Judy it gets better.

    But still, fifteen years later, there are moments I wish my mother could share. Things she could see.

    I remember someone telling me last year that she'd just weep in public places, when she was caught by something that jogged a memory. And she was in a big city and in crowds of people. No privacy for grieving there.

    Hugs. Hugs. Hugs. Mary, I love that verse from Isaiah. Lovely.

  64. Hi Audra,

    Vacation for me this year means no writing ... but lots of reading! We're driving to New Jersey to the beach so I won't be doing much writing.

    However, I have another week when I get back and that will be dedicated to lots of writing!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  65. Glynna, I'm so glad you're taking vacation time for stuff you want to do rather than shoveling snow! Good for you!!

    I haven't set my alarm this week, but our dog is very consistent. She needs to go out at 6:00am.


    Do not try and sleep through this or you'll be sorry.

    It works for me. The early morning is the only time I can comfortably venture outside.

    Get lots done, G!

  66. Ha! I haven't said neener in years. My husband says it all the time.

    I guess some of his wisdom rubs off on me...some doesn't : )

  67. Julie, I think I'd like to enjoy reverse vacation...

    Just the thought of having nothing but reading time stretch before me for a week, well, it gives me goosebumps.

    Have fun in DC. Hope all the power is restored everywhere along the east coast!! Carry along one of the portable water bottle fans just in case.

  68. I love the Isaiah verse, Mary. My dad always had COPD and it grew especially worse when he moved back to Colorado.

    When I think of my folks in heaven, I imagine them doing the things they did here, only painlessly and with smiles.

  69. Jan, isn't walking the dog an important part of the day? And my dog does not let me forget it, LOL!

    I write like I crochet - one row at a time. If I looked at crochet projects in terms of finished afgans, I'd never get them finished either!!

  70. Afgans? Afghans? Same spelling apply to people, dog breeds and blankets??

  71. Julie, I've been to your house.

    Everyday is a vacation for you.

    Luck bucket.

    If I had the beautiful view of the forest off my deck and the very romantic aura of a fire in the fire pit glowing at my side as you do, I'd have endlessly romantic ideas/plots running through my head, too!!!!

    Thanks, Jules. I"m getting lots done : )

  72. Enjoy the camping trip, Cara! Outlet malls have their place, especially in hot weather.

    The thought of peace and quiet in the middle of nowhere just gets me giddy. I'd have to find a way to keep the Kindle charged. Oh wait...I could bring books, couldn't I?

    Ahhh, the fantasy only gets better, LOL!

  73. Piper, a girl after my own heart. I love little 20 minute naps. I'm thankful they work for me.

    My husband can't sleep during the day to save his life. He says he feels like a zombie the rest of the day.

    Me? I'm recharged and ready to hit the pavement running.

  74. I love research, Myra. Poking around ghost towns tops my list. Of course scoping out the little high country town museums is a close second. Now that's a great way to spend a vacation.

    I know what you mean about semi retired husbands needing playmates. Gary isn't retired yet, but he has down months in the winter. If I take time off then I end up pal-ing around with him and get absolutely NOTHING done on my to-do list.

    I'm so easily persuaded to abondon my plans when someone elses sound better. Heavy sigh.

    I love taking time off when no one else is home. The house all to myself is heaven.

  75. Debby, you're always in demand. I don't see how you write as many books as you do while traveling to see children, babysitting and volunteering.

    You wear me out.

    Rain? What is this you speak of? Every county in Colorado except for 2 have been declared drought disaster areas. Can you believe that? Tinder dry that's what we are.

    If this "rain" you speak of is good, please send some our way...

  76. Bridgett, no way! A resale furniture store?? I LOVE IT!! We go to auctions and thrift stores all the time. I joke that my house is decorated in "Early alley" but it's the truth.

    I love all the bargain finds I've come across. It's amazing what the high income folks in this town discard as old stuff. Bring it on!!

    You are my hero.

    Enjoy yourself, my friend. If I lived closer, I'd be regular in your shop!!!!!

  77. Thanks, Carol. The camera and subsequent time spent in Photoshop turned out okay : ) I haven't had a grown up pic in ages : )

    The county encourages us to take classes all year round. We can check out licenses for Lynda dot com in three week intervals. I love it and it serves a double purpose. Of course I take the software classes that help at day job and writing. I'm no dummy : )

    I just finished a section on how to use OneNote, a MS program that organizes anything. Amazing. I plan to take more levels as I have time.

    Excel, too. Pammy is the spreadsheet queen around here. I'm beginning to get the hang of it.

    Absolutely loved learning Publisher. . .

  78. Tina Radcliffe = Slacker


    Even PLANNING to be slacker...

    (tears of mirth are rolling from my eyes)

  79. Janet, you and Debby run head to head in the busy-time race. How you ever complete books is beyond me.

    Actually, I know how hard you work during your vacations, so don't mind me, LOL!

  80. Great post, Audra! Since I write well in the car (while someone else is driving, of course) I'm hoping to get in lots of writing time when we go to Orlando for ICRS, the Christy Awards, and that little park called Disney World. Yay!!!!!!!!!! I'm SO EXCITED.

    When my kids were younger, I would promise to take them somewhere if they would just give me the morning. So I would write until lunch time. Lately there are more distractions, stresses, and frustrations than I can even name, and I have been letting them get the best of me, I have to admit. But I am getting very near a lull of a few days and I'm determined to get back to my WIP. The thing is, once I get back into it, I will be so focused that it will be hard to think about anything else. So, I seem to be procrastinating just a bit. But that is about to end.

  81. I have OneNote. I should probably learn how to use it...

  82. Internet connections can be beyond frustrating, Ganise. They really mess up my day when they're sketchy, especially after I've taken the time to schedule my time, LOL!

    Glad you made it to Seekerville. I love hearing your book will be done by the end of summer.

    Just remember to chew on small pieces over the next weeks so you don't choke, LOL!!

    Hmm, adding "mind reader" to my list of accomplishments is something to think about : )

  83. Missy, you always earn your summer vacations. You sweat and pour over your mss. for days on end until the work is done. I wish I had your focus.

    'Course, I wish I had your beautiful accent, too.

    I tend to wish for a lot of things : )

  84. Laundry.

    Every child 12 and over needs to know how to do their own.

  85. And for those who have been praying, my husband got a job, so it looks like I'll be able to go to conference!

  86. Susan, you go spend a week reading, honey. I'm drooling in your wake.

  87. Melanie, I can't believe ICRS is right around the corner. I'm rooting for you, girlfriend. C'mon, Christy Award!!!

    I think I can excuse you from being productive while on your road trip. Disney World is a lot to look forward to, LOL!!!

    I know this is unheard of in this day and age, but both my kids took 4 hours naps in the afternoon until they started kindergarten. I know I was blessed. So we did all the chores and fun stuff in the mornings and mom had the afternoons. I'm still in the habit of filling my mornings with to-do list stuff.

    Afternoons are for writing and naps : )

    Cheering for you, Mel. What night is the Christy Award function?

  88. Carol! OneNote is great! It's a giant notebook with dividers to keep all your school stuff in, LOL!

    And it automatically saves your work so you won't lose receipts or imported info.

    Works great for photos, too.

    You'll love it.

  89. Yay, Melanie! Give that man of yours a hug!!!

    Praise the Lord for hearing prayers.

  90. MELANIE!!!!!


    I am so thrilled your hard-working, supportive husband got a job!!! You have been waiting a looooong time, but God's timing is always the best.

    Can hardly wait to meet you at conference - and have FUN on your ICRS trip!!!!

  91. My now-8yo took those kind of naps. My will-be-5yo-in-two-weeks [and my 10yo/7yo] both gave them up MUCH earlier. Not from lack of trying by mom, mind you. /sigh/

    But I am going to be implementing 'rest time' starting next week. BOB [butt on bed] time. Read, write, play quietly, but CHILL OUT because the crankiness is insane.

    Will have to find a good tutorial on OneNote. I've heard it's great but haven't figured it out yet.



  92. SO happy for you and your husband, Melanie!!!!!!

  93. Just realized blogger ate my comment.

    I wrote it hours ago and don't remember what it said.

    So, I'm just going to wish everyone a great day :)

  94. Hi Audra, enjoyed your post today, vacations have always been few and far between in my life so have not had to worry about making them work-now to get one was the challange.
    With all the hot weather I have been reading and staying in the cool A/C except when I have to go get groceries or meds at pharmacy,just wait til you get old-life is not easy when you become a senior citizen. But I do get to read more and visit blogs like this one more by being retired so guess that is a good thing.
    This reader will keep on reading and you authors just keep on writing and the world turns well on its axis..
    Paula O(

  95. Whoo-hoo Melanie and her honey!!
    My best to him and PRAISE God!
    Smiling at Jennifer's comment.


  96. Thanks, everybody! You guys are so sweet!
    Audra, The Christy Awards are Monday the 16th, and if it's like last year, you should be able to keep up with who wins as it happens through their live blog. Don't know for sure if they're going to be doing that this year.

  97. Jennifer, don't you just hate it when that happens? When I try to recreate my comment, it never sounds as good as the original.

    Stupid blogger.

    Glad you came back and checked : )Maybe your comment will pop up sometime...

  98. Paula, I love your philosophy. We'll keep writing if you promise to keep reading : )

    I just got back from running errands - funny how my family still expects to be fed - and it's hot out there. Thank goodness humidity is only about 20% or I'd be a puddle on the ground!

    You stay close to that A/C, Paula!!

  99. Monday, the 16th.

    Got it.

    Remember to come back from Disney World in time for the big event!!

    Luck bucket : )

    I can't wait to hear all about it when you come back, Mel!!

  100. HI Audra, Wow. Vacation time. What a dream come true. Don't you just love it?

    And yes, things eat that time but those things are there when you're working too. Now you can enjoy that time with your daughter, son and cousin. smile

    Congrats Melanie. I love to hear about answered prayers.

    And Audra, I can take a cup of coffee about now. Oh darn, I can't qualify to win. Better go make some.

  101. Hey, I said d a r n. That looks like an m and I don't want anyone to think I said that. lol

  102. YAY, Melanie! So happy for you and your husband. This is such a hard economy in which to find work right now, so that's an answered prayer for sure!!

  103. Gee, Audra, you're in Colorado at 95 degrees, but I'm 2,000 feet higher in elevation than you are so it's only 75 here in the mountains of Arizona!

  104. "When you approach your goals realistically, it’s amazing what grows from it."

    Oh, my, yes ... but why are we so long in learning that? And why do we forget and have to re-learn it? :-)

    Wonderful post, Audra, and great ideas for those realistic goals.

    Now to read comments ...

    Nancy C

  105. Rain?? They still make that stuff?

    Congrats to all who are adding to those word counts. Cheering you on.

    And oh my gosh how wonderful to hear about people finding jobs. Yippy!

    Nancy C

  106. Audra when my neighbour rang the ambulance and said the age and said early 50's I was able to yell I am 48! (no way am I over 50!).

    The bad news the headache is back and about a 4 or 5 at present. good news is I am warmer than I have been in over a week. Going to have another day in jammies.

    Hopefully will get to read today.

    Oh did you know I was so tired but couldn't sleep in hospital. I asked they to use a sledgehammer on me to knock me out, but they wouldn't. I kept saying but it wont hurt you!

  107. I like to take vacation days around holidays to get more days off!

    csdsksds at gmail dot com

  108. Jenny, as a migraine sufferer, I am praying for your ehadache to go away!! Exhaustion and headache together???

    Sending prayers and hugs for your comfort. Are you drinking enough fluids?

    I've never wished I lived in Australia before, but I sure wish I lived close enough to come make you some toast. :(

  109. Sandra, my dear friend, the coffee's on me : ) I've been whipping up a wicked hazelnut/folgers custom roast blend...add a splash of real whipping cream and mm, mm, good!

    Hee, I saw d-a-r-n : )

  110. Oh Glynna, send some of that cool down here. If I wasn't so scared over the prospect of fire, I'd drive up into the mountains this weekend.

    I'm happy to say our evaporative cooler is holding up bravely.

  111. Jenny, I"m with Virginia, I wish I lived closer so I could come and bring you some hot tea. Kinda hard to imagine you've been cold these last few days. Wow, maybe you better come on over here.

    Either way, I'm sorry I can't pamper you a little bit.

  112. Nancy C, I'm with you. Why do we always have to relearn the basics? I guess we're a just a generation of short-cuts.

    Doesn't seem to serve its intended purpose, does it?

  113. Checking back in late...

    Jenny, continued prayers. Glad you're spending another day in jammies. Give yourself time to heal.

    Judy, sending cyber hugs. I lost my mama when she was too young. Feeling your loss for sure!

    Melanie! Rejoicing about hubby's job. Thank you, Jesus!!!

    July 16th, eh? Fingers crossed! :)

  114. Ruthy, anywhere one can write is fine. I penned 450 words sitting in a doctor's office this year. (Surpassed my 500 word target after i got home.)

  115. Goodness at the comments. I'm late, but do we get a prize for the most innovative way to write on vacation?

    Well, two or three years ago, dh and I went on our first vacation in ages without the kids. Our oldest was in Army Basic training in OK, and our youngest was spelunking somewhere in TN, and we were in Branson, MO.

    Dh enjoys finding a stock sale while we're off away from home, and I encouraged him to find one...I had a plan. We spent the entire day at the sale barn in West Plains, MO.

    He enjoyed his sale barn fix while I found a quiet corner in the buyers' lounge and wrote.

    Win-win situation.

    Then we went to Lamberts. lol

  116. Pammy, that's the most innovative way to use diversion I've seen. I'll have to keep it in mind, LOL!

    Good for you!!!!

  117. Turn the phone off,get a glass of sweet tea,get on the porch with a good book and enjoy the beauties of God's creation!!

  118. Oh, I could sure use a coffee.
    Please enter me in your draw!