Thursday, February 25, 2010


I’m headed to Jamaica next week. Sun, sand, clear blue water, eighty-five degrees… jealous yet? I know. You’re throwing things at your computer screen. Calling me names. Wishing me lost luggage. But let me finish. I’m taking this vacation with my mother and two sisters. My sisters who are both thin and beautiful and my mother who would like me to be thin and beautiful and is disappointed on a regular basis that I am not. So this vacation is kind of a double edged sword. The good news is I found a magical bathing suit that sucks me in all over the place and a cover up that will make it impossible to tell what lies beneath.

Beyond my dread of wearing a bathing suit though, I was thinking as I was packing about what books to bring. Reading on the beach is my favorite pastime. Currently I still have two RITA books that need to be judged. Plus Hunger Games. Plus the new Laura Kinsale. But I also have a number of research books that I purchased regarding life in Victoria England as I begin research for my next book.

Books on Scotland Yard, Domestic Servitude, Sexual Morays and Entertainment all in or around the time period I want to set my book. The kind of books you find in a college bookstore. The kind that require work to read. One the one hand, I’m telling myself this is a vacation. I’m supposed to relax and enjoy myself and my skinny beautiful family. On the other hand to have five days off from my day job and not work on my writing career seems foolish and wasteful.

Normally when I go to the beach I have no problem bringing my Dana and writing away. Writing is fun and enjoyable when I’m starting a new story. No stress yet, no deadlines looming. That’s a no brainer. But the research part is work. And when you’re cramming to meet a deadline writing becomes work.

So the question is… do you write/work on vacation? Do you look at it as a fun activity like reading? Or do you see it as an intrusion on your vacation time? For those with family do they get annoyed if you bring your work along with you or do they understand that concentrated writing could be what you need to take your book to the next level?


Karen W said...

For me, it depends on my deadline and how far along I am in the book.

If I can swing it, vacations are just that - a VACATION - which means no work of any kind, including writing. Plus my husband gets *really* annoyed if we go to, say Vegas, and I write.

Alli said...

I did a three month RV trip with the family in 2008 and I spent most nights bashing out the first draft of the MS I`m shopping around now to agents. DH and I had a great thing going - we`d put the kids to bed around 7.30 and then he would geek on his geeky computer doing geeky stuff and I would write my draft (he called it geeking, also) - all done over bottles of wine we`d purchased in the Napa and Sonoma valleys on our trip. We both had a great ol` time!

Maureen McGowan said...

I think self-employed people have trouble taking full-on vacations... and we writers are all self-employed.
And you have a day-job on top of that.

I say read for pleasure. If the research books will give you pleasure, take them along. Otherwise, take Hunger Games. You won't regret it. ;)

Molly O'Keefe said...

oh I work - usually. But my vote is bring the hunger games and the victorian england sex book - that'll be fun.

congrats on the bathing suit and good luck with your mom - vacationing with mom's is always more work than one would think... at least in my case. I love her dearly, but oy!

Stephanie Doyle said...

This will be my first vacation with her in sometime. I'm very nervous. Also love her dearly... but this is going to be interesting.

Karen W said...

Ah yes, bring Hunger Games! And I guarantee when you finish, you will try to find a bookstore to purchase the second book. It's just that good.

Sinead M said...

oooh... sun, sea, and sand requires reading strictly for fun.

Steph, you probably have a great list of research books, but the one I use the most office is The Victorian House by Judith Flanders. Amazing detail on daily life in Victorian London.

Eileen said...

I always end up working at least a little. Oh, what am I talking about. I can't remember the last time I took that kind of vacation! We went to the Philippines in 2005 for my boyfriend's brother's wedding and went to a resort afterwards. That's the last time I remember long stretches of uninterrupted beach time. I don't remember working on that trip, but I'd just turned in Un-Bridaled and I think I was just starting to noodle with new ideas.

We vacationed in D.C. before Nationals last year, but that was a whirlwind of sightseeing. There was no reading/writing time except on the airplane.

I'm even planning on writing and doing some stock signings while I'm up in Seattle next month for my sister's graduation from nursing school.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Sinead - thanks! I actually don't have that book. And one I ordered Amazon couldn't get.

I'll try that one.


Anonymous said...

When I'm in the tropics, I can't read anything - can't take my eyes off the gorgeous scenery! Enjoy - I need to find that swimsuit. :)

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