Can Writers Ever Vacation?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I’ve always been strangely proud of the fact that I go on vacation without a laptop, smart phone, or any other device that would tempt me to “Just check in”, “Answer a few emails”, “Dash off a blog post”, or any of the other thousand things I could come up with that take “Just a minute”. I’m not one of those people with a margarita in one hand and a laptop in the other or strolling the beach yelling at the seagulls “It’s in the Anderson file and it has to go out today!” People talking on those hands-free phones still freak me out(and I imagine the sea gulls don’t enjoy them either).

When I go on vacation I really go on vacation…or so I’ve always told myself. But my pile of things to be packed for vacation includes two books that need to be read and reviewed, a book proposal I’m hoping to start(and Larson’s book about book proposals), and a post I promised a blogger the week I return. I’m also hoping to work on handouts for a class I’ll be teaching. And there’s always my novel. Did I mention I’ll only be away for a week? Somehow, I convince myself that without all the pressures of my everyday writing I’ll have time for the projects I’ve been pushing off. Except I’m supposed to be on vacation!

According to my dictionary the definition of a vacation is:

1. A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.

Pleasure, rest, relaxation. Yep, that sounds right. The problem is the second half “especially one with pay granted to an employee.” When you work for yourself—welcome to the wonderful world of freelancing—you’re constantly aware of the fact that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. So I drag along projects out of guilt, panic, hope?

I’d like to say that after writing this post and thinking about my un-vacation like behavior I’ll leave all the projects at home. I won’t.

Are your vacations project free? Computer free? Smart phone free? Am I the only neurotic “I’m sure I can squeeze in a little bit of work” freelancer? Have you ever managed to completely leave the work at home? Tell me your secrets! Quick, I’m leaving for the beach soon.

You can learn more about Jodi and her crazy life on her blog Words by Webb at Next week is dedicated to her favorite genre with Mystery Week


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