I’m back at my writing desk and it’s PILED HIGH with STUFF that needs my attention! Coming back from holiday is always the same, isn’t it? It makes me even more thankful for the fantastic summer I had.
I had a great time in Dorset, on the southern coast of England, which is where I spent most of my summer holiday. When I’m there I stay in a cottage that is near the dramatic cliffs of the magnificent Jurassic coast, which means lots of lovely walks for me and my dogs.
I tend to be someone who gets up early no matter where I am, but on holiday, even if I wake up early, I make sure I enjoy a LONG and LEISURELY breakfast – something I don’t have the chance to do normally because I like to get to my writing desk first thing in the morning. But on holiday I LOVE having a long breakfast. In fact, I consider it a huge luxury. As far as I’m concerned, long breakfasts are right up there with other luxuries like large yachts and expensive handbags…only better because I can easily afford a long breakfast! And I can share a long breakfast with my dogs. I’m not sure how I’d share an expensive handbag with them…and I really doubt they’d like being on a yacht the whole day – they like their long walks too much!
So, do I write when I’m on holiday? Well…this was the first holiday I’ve had since I started writing Model Under Cover where I did not have to write. For the last few years I’ve had endless deadlines to meet – but this year, for once, I didn’t! So I did NOT write. Not a lot, anyway. What I did do was to write notes and think about the secret project I’m working on. (I can’t tell you anything about it yet, but, yeah, it’s a new book series! Shhh!) Which leads me to my Holiday Writing Tip…
Holidays are a great time to soak in all kinds of new information and experiences. A holiday is the perfect time to visit new places, see new landscapes, try different projects, read books, and, basically, just do a ton of fun stuff that you normally don’t have the chance to do (like long breakfasts!). In other words, holidays are the perfect occasion to fill your memory bank with all kinds of new experiences that you can recycle once you’re back home and at your writing desk.
Pay attention to whatever the tour guide might have to say, or buy a guide book so you learn about what you’re looking at. Any little detail you come across, whether it’s a tantalising tidbit of historical information about a painting, a scary local legend (check out the ones in Dorset about the screaming skull), or a famous romance from way back when, can fire up your imagination and give you all kinds of exciting ideas to consider for a story.
Personally, I find it especially exciting to see new landscapes. I find that visiting a place I’ve never been to or meeting new people can really get my creative juices flowing with ideas in a way that just sitting at my writing desk at home, surfing online, can’t do. And, like I said, the more you experience while on holiday the more inspiration you’ll have to draw on when it comes time to creating characters and scenes for the book you’re writing.
So remember: Use your holidays to soak in new information and experiences, any of which can inspire new characters or scenes in a the book you’re writing.
I also recommend buying a guidebook or a postcard (I buy a TON of postcards) to remind yourself about what you’ve learned. You can also take photos with your phone – this is something I do all the time. I take pictures of the labels next to a painting if there is something interesting I want to remember about the painting or the artist who painted it (and I also take a picture of the painting if it’s allowed). And you can take notes, either at the time (carry a notebook and pen with you – I do!) or once you’re back home. Keep all of this information and take it out once the ideas start flowing.
Which leads me to my next piece of advice. Don’t expect the ideas to start flowing as soon as you’re back in the car and on your way home from your sightseeing trip. A great idea might come immediately, of course…but sometimes it can take longer. Sometimes a tiny nugget of information needs a while before it becomes a brilliant idea. In fact, an idea from your summer holiday might not hit you until one day a few months down the line, when you’re crossing the street to buy some winter boots, Holy Dior!, it will come to you out of nowhere!
That’s how it works with me, anyway…
So when will my next holiday be? Hmmm…probably at Christmas time. And do I have some new places and things lined up that I’d like to see? Yup, you bet! So I’ll make sure I have my phone fully charged and my notebook and pen with me when I go!