As any diligent writer would do, whether I am away from home for a weekend or a week, part of my packing routine includes gathering drafts of unfinished blogs, up-to-date outlines of stories I am working on, office supplies to keep the drafts and side notes organized and a reliable little notebook and pen, in case a moment of brilliance strikes when the airplane seat belt sign is on. In a nutshell, my carry-on becomes a mobile Staples store.
When traveling, one never knows when one might be spending unplanned time in the airplane terminal, on the tarmac or on a long layover. By the same token, one never knows when a shift in time zones might lead to a sleepless night. It is with the best of intentions that I ensure I am ready to make the best use of any free time that presents itself to capture the stories and ideas floating around in my head.
However, in the last three major trips, something happened: I did not write. I did not review unfinished blog drafts, I did not scribble any notes, I don’t even think I added more than 10 words to the Notes app on my iPad. What happened?
It is like that little narrator voice that speaks to me and is constantly bombarding me with ideas, phrases and puzzle pieces of dialogue (and often at inconvenient times too, I might add) suddenly disappeared.
It was when I was unpacking from our most recent trip to New Orleans that I realized that I had written nothing within the collection of writing tools… again. I started wondering why I have been unnecessarily adding weight to my luggage. I then noticed that the whole time we were on our trip, not once did that little voice talk to me.
Did I say something to offend the little voice?
Did I forget to pack the little voice?
Did the little voice take off on a vacation of its own?
Did the little voice have a better time than me?
Did the little voice at least get an attractive rate?
Why am I having a separate vacation from my little voice?
Even though I still stand firm on the assertion that writing is my passion, it is a little disconcerting that my passion seemed to take a holiday as well.
Upon further reflection it became apparent that as much as I love writing, taking a break might not be a bad thing. In the act of taking a vacation and getting inspired by the sights, the sounds, the food, the history and the culture of visiting a new place, it really gave my writing reflexes a chance to refresh, recharge and gain new perspective.
I will admit though that it would have been helpful for the little voice to check in occasionally. Writing my New Orleans travel blog required a staggering amount of research and reviewing old VISA receipts to remember where we were and when, and then to write about the great sights we visited. It would have been much easier to write a little bit each day and then just do a big editing job when I got home. But alas, you cannot order creativity like you would a pizza.
In the same way that taking vacation time away from the day-to-day routine of earning a living is beneficial, why shouldn’t that apply to one’s calling as well? As much as I would like to think of myself as a writing machine, the reality is that I am only human too! Taking a break can be good for the writing soul too.
In planning for the next trip, I would definitely pack a little notebook and maybe a couple of unfinished blogs to see if inspiration strikes, but not much more. If the next trip is different and I feel like writing, that would be awesome. But if the little voice takes a separate vacation again, I will just have to cut myself some slack and just look forward to when the little voice returns…. and it will!
It has barely been a week since we got back and the best writing ideas are coming to me at really inconvenient times again.
Welcome back, little writer’s voice! Life is good!
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Have a great day,