Monday, July 21, 2014

A Working Vacation

Good Morning. As some of you may know from my recent tweets (@gallagher_anne) I am in Rhode Island on vacation. We left on the 10th of July and stayed 6 days with my brother and his wife in Pennsylvania.

the view from outside his front door
corn fields and mountains

We left there and drove to Rhode Island, where we're staying with my mother's friend, Mary, until the 22, when we go up to my cousin's house to stay for 4 days, and then come back to the beach for three weeks.

the first day we arrived, I planted my ass
in the chair and refused to move -
 paid for it with severe sunburn
can you see how white my feet are?
after that day they were so burned
I couldn't even wear flops

Why all this traveling? Because my mother didn't plan accordingly and now we're doing the  "sleep-over shuffle". Don't get me wrong, it's great to be "home" (I grew up in Rhode Island) and I'm eating my way through food I haven't tasted in a couple of years, but I'm not sleeping right (from a lumpy double, to a soft twin, to a couch), not pooping right (sorry, that was probably TMI) and have to deal with my MOTHER. (Who, quite frankly, is a pain in the arse. She's a neat freak and has to "clean" and put away, and nag that I'm not the same way.)

And let's not forget about my Monster, whose only words besides "Good Morning" are "When can we go to the beach?"

the beach -- that's Monster on the right with her boogie board

I had a lot of stress last year. A LOT. Most of it personal, some of it nasty (Remember the bully at school?), and I thought coming to the beach would be good for me. I would relax and refresh and regenerate. I would also be able to finish the second novella I started (for the conclusion of my series THE RELUCTANT GROOMS).

I thought, (thought being the operative word here) that I would be able to "work" in the morning, and then Monster and I would traipse down to the beach in the afternoon. After supper I could edit or whatever, and maybe Tweet some more, and keep to a schedule so that I could at least finish the first draft to THE LADY'S SECRET.

stone sculpture at the Pt. Judith Lighthouse Coast Guard Station

How's that working for me, you may ask. Yeah, not so much. I haven't even LOOKED at the manuscript (though I have two laptops and copious notes with me). There's too much going on.

And it's not that it's TOO much, it is, believe it or not, the NOISE.

I'm a silent writer. I cannot have any background noise, music, tv, distractions. I get into my own head, into my character's heads and let the words pour out. Take for instance right now as I'm writing this -- my mother is slurping her oatmeal, Monster is watching some weird sci-fi thing on tv, and the stupid hot water heater is making this god-awful noise in the basement. It's driving me crazy (especially the slurping).

So what's a writer like me supposed to do? I have no idea. Even if I go upstairs to the bedroom, Monster will follow me "What are you doing? Can we go to the beach? When are you going to finish?" My mother will follow that up with "Are you taking a shower? Are you going to do laundry? Are you going to the supermarket?"

I am supposed to be on a "working vacation". So far it's work just being here.

Tell me -- Have you ever taken a "working vacation"? Did you get any work done? If so, please tell me HOW.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

PS If you'd like to see a couple more pics from our first day at the beach, you can click here


Maria Zannini said...

Oh, woman! Put the work away and enjoy your vacation.

I'm like you. I need my quiet. Worse yet, I need familiarity. I don't like my schedule or habitat upset--especially by family.

That's why after the initial hugs and meals, I go off exploring on my own.

Anne Gallagher said...

Maria -- I'm kind of on a deadline. I really need to have the first draft of this finished by the time we go back to school. Once we get into our own "house" (4 more days) I should have a schedule. Even if it's the middle of the night.

Shelley Sly said...

Aww. I can kind of relate. Relaxing is hard for me, and I actually feel better when I'm working instead of relaxing. For most people, I think it's the opposite. So I don't blame you for trying to get so much done.

Hope things quiet down by you so you can write!

Anonymous said...

I'm the same way. I need silence to write.

My solution is to leave my laptop on my nightstand and as soon as I wake up, start writing. That way no one hears me moving around the house and decides to get up with me, and i usually get in at least an hour, often more, of uninterrupted time :)

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

I'm going to get an imposed vacation from writing, after I have surgery on my hand on the 29th. Argh. I'm not looking forward to that. But the surgeon says I won't be putting hand to keyboard for a couple weeks. Will I be able to bare it? I don't know.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Maybe you should impose a quiet time. They can read while you work at writing. I mean, who doesn't like to read???

That or leave them be and head to the library. Or invest in some noise-blocking headphones.

Good luck! :)

J.B. Chicoine said...

I have tried working/writing on vacation, but the only thing I succeeded with is a lot of thinking on the plot. I guess it was productive because when it was finally time to sit down and write, I had something in mind.

Maybe the best thing you can do is just relax and daydream! (Any Beach-Guy Jack sightings?)

ed pilolla said...

i, too, am a silent writer. i've tried classical music and can write to that but why when i prefer silence. music for later:)

a working vacation sounds great:)

Anne Gallagher said...

Shelley -- That's my trouble. I'm ALWAYS busy at home so at the beach I feel like I'm being less than productive if I don't put in at least 5 hours of writing time.

Sherrie -- What a great idea. I never thought of that even though the laptop is in the bedroom.

Mac -- Oh NO! What are you going to do? I'll bet the pups will enjoy you though.

Stacey -- I'm liking the idea of headphones. That way when they talk to ME I can ignore them.

Bridget -- Yes, the beach is definitely the place to find new stories -- 6 so far. One in particular I'd really like to work on. And no, no Jack yet. But it's still only July. I'm hoping for August.

Ed -- I tend to hum classical when I cook, keeps me focused. But I prefer silence to write. And it's so great to see you again. Thanks so much for stopping by. Are you still writing poetry?

Clarissa Draper said...

Sadly, I've been on those "working vacations" and have not finished anything either. I'm like you, I write best in silence. I like to hear my characters think too.
I think the only time I got writing done was when I went on a cruise. At night, after a quiet walk around the track, I would go down to the library with my notebook and write. Other than that, it's nearly impossible. Especially with children and when you're visiting family.

Laurel Garver said...

It can be tough to actually draft while on a working vacation, but it is quite manageable to brainstorm, observe (people watch and gather details about places you visit) and interview people. Just try to stay connected to your story world, even if it's mostly daydreaming (another kind of brainstorming!).

Sarah Ahiers said...

i have taken working vacays, but they've always been more like retreats, so everyone else is working, which helps