I took my novel work-in-progress on vacation. My expectation was that the quiet, off-line times at the campsite would be the perfect opportunity to really dig into this thing and make some great things happen.
What a fool I was.
First off, there were precious few quiet times in which to write. Actually, no. That's not strictly true. There were a lot of occasions when I COULD have been writing, but did other things instead with friends and family. I swam, I fished, I shot at clay pigeons, I hiked miles and miles in the woods, I went to museums, nature preserves and historic sites, I saw "Captain America" on opening day, I ate smoked whitefish, ice cream and tourist fudge, I skipped rocks on the beach, I built fires, I cooked meals, I built sandcastles, I admired the sandcastles built by children, I set up tents and I took them down repeatedly, and I drove and drove and drove.
As a matter of fact, there were precisely three stretches of more than an hour when I could theoretically have written new prose and edited old without undue disruption of what was going on around me. One of these was sitting on the beach in witheringly bright sunlight, conditions which make a laptop almost impossible to use. I could have used pen and paper, but instead, I read a book. Got a damned bad sunburn, too.
Secondly... well, I have a bit of a reputation with my friends and family. This is best typified by the reaction I got on the second occasion, which was fairly early on in the trip. Things were quiet, other people were napping, so I got out my laptop to work on my novel. Almost immediately, the indignant cry went up, "Good God, you're not working, are you? You're on vacation - put that away!" Reactions like this make it hard to go off and write.
The third occasion was the couple of hours I spent at a Starbucks, waiting for the completion of the emergency repairs to my car at the Firestone next door. I used this time (and Starbucks' WiFi) to catch up on some e.mail and write a blog post for Write Anything discussing the future of publishing and my own future as a writer. The venti Americano was ~$3, the new rotors, pads, calipers, boots, brake lines, fluids and associated labor was ~$800. That works out to about a dollar a word for that chunk of writing; too bad it was going in the wrong direction, i.e. away from me.
So, here I am, back at home, with no meaningful progress made on my book.
How's your summer been so far?
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