At the last minute we were lucky enough to book eight days on a pristine stretch of beachfront on Kangaroo Island, a mere 45 minutes by ferry off the South Australian coast. Forget the palms and coconuts – a tropical paradise, it ain’t. But it’s just as beautiful, in a rugged, untouched wilderness kind of way. Like this:
Water, sun and sand … the perfect ingredients for a summer holiday.
And, although I’m sure none of my family will appreciate this fact, the very best part of this trip is that the booking includes a cleaner, who’ll come through and clean up our beach house after we leave! Oh, the bliss! So, for eight whole days, I will have very little to do in the way of housework (except maybe concocting a meal or two a day, and let me tell you, I’m working very hard at skipping out of that obligation!), and the kiddies will spend virtually all day, every day, on the beach - which all means I will have a lot of free time on my hands.
Now, how should I spend said time? Sleeping, novel reading, sipping champagne while watching the sun sink into the ocean … these all hit the top of my holiday “to-do” list. (g) But then again, I really should use that extra time to start revisions, shouldn’t I? It’d be kinda cool to sit beneath a beach umbrella, manuscript in hand, editing away …
In a word – NO.
Because I know that in reality, there really won’t be as many peaceful hours as I think. In reality, my family will at some point want to see mum, with her vampire-white legs, down on the beach building sandcastles with them (and mum actually really wants to do this – erm, not flash the eye-blinding skin, but muck around with the kiddies.) There will be day-trips, movie-nights, sleep-ins …
Sigh. I’ve done this before (and I’m sure I’m not alone); I see the holidays, with their lack of routine and the DH around a bit more to help with the kids, decide to use the extra time to tackle the writing, and then set my sights too high. During the holiday season, it is inevitable that real life will take over - as it should, IMO - and trying to achieve lofty writing goals only leaves me frustrated, not to mention extremely peeved at the people and/or situation cramping my writing-style.
No one wants the Grinch around at Christmas!
So, instead of diving into revisions, I think I'll finish reading through all the useful revision advice I’ve printed out from the Forum over the past few years; or maybe work through a bit of Don Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook; or re-read a couple of books I want to study for their use of suspense and structure; or begin to sketch a rough synopsis … or simply daydream about my book and see what gems of inspiration the old subconscious may send up. Nothing *has* to be started; nothing *has* to be finished.
So, if you’re looking at your holidays and rubbing your hands with glee, desperate to get stuck into the writing now you actually have some time … I’d recommend you take a reality-check and make sure you’re not setting yourself up for disappointment.
Think about simply editing existing scenes, or doing rough sketches of new scenes, or reading a book on the craft of writing, or doing a bit of research on the net. Don’t abandon all writing related activities; just scale down your expectations and set goals that match your circumstances. You’ll feel good because you *will* achieve something; plus, your friends and family will like you a whole lot better when you’re not a seething mass of frustrated rage. (g)
So, how about you? What do you plan to do with your writing, with any extra time you have these holidays?