As one of those people who has limited time to work on my personal projects, taking a working vacation has become a regular occurrence year after year. For me, this means taking my camera and laptop along on my trips so I can work on two of my hobbies at once, photography and writing. This year will be no different.
Usually, my family vacation happens in September when the weather is still summer-warm and the evenings last past dinnertime. Going away in October, however, means sunset hits at around 7:00PM, and the nights will be chilly enough for a fire in the cabin hearth or woodstove. Rainy days may limit my photography opportunities or result in gleaming autumn colors, and regardless of weather, I will have plenty of time to write and edit between hikes and photo outings.
One thing that can both help and hinder my writing progress on this particular trip will be lack of an internet connection. The distractions of web-based games and social media will be eliminated not only by the absence of WiFi at the cabin but also by the lack of cell phone coverage in much of the area I’ll be visiting. For some people, this may sound like a scary proposition for a vacation, but I find it good to detox from social media and the rest of the internet for a while. Of course, there is a flip side in that a lack of connection means an inability to do a quick internet search on any facts I may come to question during my writing and editing time. These questions will simply need to be written down and put on hold until I return home again.
Another thing these working vacations do for me is to help energize me and focus my creativity in ways that a week spent at home cannot. The change in setting and the leaving behind of day-to-day interruptions results in greater attention given to my personal goals. I spend a great deal of time thinking on what specific directions I’d like to take with my goals and how best to achieve them. Frustratingly, those ideas become too numerous to pursue them all, and so I must pick and choose between them upon returning home. Some are followed to fruition while others get shoved to the back burner of my projects stove until the next year. This time around may prove to be even more difficult for following through on ideas as I will have less than a month before Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday preparations begin. But as long as I remember that any progress is better than no progress, I hope to not get too discouraged by lack of time.
My number one goal for this vacation and the surrounding weeks is finishing the edits on my novel manuscript and giving it one final read-through before attempting to pitch and/or query it. I have four other manuscripts in various states of progress and knowing whether there is any interested in publishing this first completed work will help me decide which of those four deserves the bulk of my focus next. As much as I enjoy writing for the universe I’ve built in this first novel, if there is no interest in it, then dropping two of the other WIPs in favor of the others will be for the best, no matter how much I love the characters and storylines. I can always come back to them at a later time, possibly for self-publication or for a second attempt at traditional publishing.