A few weeks ago Mr Arguably Honest and I went on a short holiday to Portugal. As most writers probably do, I took my writing tool (a.k.a. my laptop) with me. I mean, why wouldn’t I take it. After all, I was going on holiday. I expected there would be plenty of time to write in the evenings, after we’ve had enough of climbing the streets of Porto, or maybe in the morning, before we left. We’re not amazing at leaving the house promptly first thing in the morning, Mr Arguably Honest and I.
And guess how much I wrote, during all this free time that we had in the evenings.
A few thousand words for my novel? Maybe a blog post?
NOTHING. I wrote absolutely nothing.
Yes, I wrote exactly zero words. And I didn’t even feel bad about it. But since it wasn’t the first time I had planned to write on holiday and then didn’t actually do it, I thought I will write about it. Because I’m sure I’m not the only one who faces the dilemma of whether to write or not on holiday.
I wrote exactly zero words. And I didn’t even feel bad about it.
It’s not about whether you love writing or not
I love writing. Really, really do. But I’m also not an advocate of writing every day. I know a lot of great writers insist that writing every single day is the way to go, and who am I to contradict Stephen King, right? But I think it’s ok to not want to write. I have days when writing is really the last thing I want to do. Especially on holiday. Unless you’re a travel blogger/really lucky/spend your life travelling, you probably don’t go on holidays too often. I’d risk a guess that most of us go on holiday once, maybe twice a year. Cherish that time! You finally got away from your everyday life, your job, university, bills and food shopping. There is really nothing wrong in wanting to take a break from writing as well. Enjoy your holiday to its fullest – sightsee, lie on the beach, party all night, whatever makes you happy. You can even forget that you are a writer, and that’s fine too.
You can even forget that you are a writer, and that’s fine too.
Let yourself be inspired
Even if you’re not actually putting words on paper, it doesn’t mean that you left your writer persona at home. Be inspired by your surroundings, the people you meet, the food you eat, the things you buy. Even if you stay in your home country for holidays, you are probably visiting a region that you’re less familiar with. Enjoy exploring how different it is!
As writers, it is so beneficial to observe the world around us and use those observation to make our writing better and more realistic. So even if you’re not writing per se, a holiday can open your eyes to places and things that you have never experienced before, and which could improve your writing tremendously.
If you feel like writing, write
Here’s the thing. While in Portugal, I didn’t feel like writing. Not at all. I much preferred to absorb the amazing atmosphere of Porto (and enjoy the influence port wine had on my mental capacity), than sit at a table in our Airbnb and write. But to you, writing might be an integral part of a holiday. Or maybe it’s not, but you saw something that you absolutely had to write about. Or suddenly figured out how to solve a problem in your novel. Or maybe you simply really feel like writing. If that’s the case… Well… Write, write to your heart’s content.
If you’re away from home for a few weeks, or even months, then I’d say definitely do write. But if you’re only on a short holiday for a few days, then enjoy it. Savour it. Fuck the ‘write everyday’ people. It’s your holiday. Do with it whether the hell you want.
Not sure you know, but… Arguably Honest now has a newsletter! So exciting, isn’t it? When you sign up for it, every Monday morning you will wake up to a fresh and pink email from me, full of book recommendations, writing tips and sneak peeks into future blog post! In every newsletter there’s also a cute gif of a puppy.
You wouldn’t want to miss the puppy, I promise you.
(And you will get this really cool freebie – a template for your book journal, so you can keep track of all the cool books you read. It’s a really cool template… Just saying.)