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!!