Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sunshine and Free Time

Vacation. Oh, that word. I just returned home from seven days at Fern Resort in Orillia, Ontario. This is the view that greeted me when I opened my hotel room’s drapes every morning:

And every morning after breakfast, I sat by the lake and wrote. This was my writing view:

For a change of pace, I wrote by the pool or the other side of the lake:

Writer's Heaven.

Okay, I also did other vacationy things like bocce ball, swimming pool games, billiards, trivia, long walks in the evening with my husband (everyone say “awwwww”). I didn’t need to cook a meal, make a bed, clean anything, or do laundry for seven days.

And that made me think of famous writers in history: Mary Shelley. Tolkien. Jane Austen. Lewis Carroll. CS Lewis. Beatrix Potter. For the most part, they had servants to cook, clean, wash, shop for groceries. Their Day Jobs (those who had one) left them time to write, write, write. (Pardon me while I check my skintone. It may be taking on a greenish tinge.)

A week of vacation increased by about 10Kthe word count of Book 2 of The Falcone & Driscoll Investigation series. It’s all longhand—the fruit of my fountain pen, sunny days, and lots of time. Thus my twinges of envy over great writers who had money and a staff to take care of the zillion little details of keeping the home together.

Am I alone in this? When other writers go on vacation, does their word count increase exponentially? Fellow Inkspotters, do you get bit by the “time” bug? Do you wake up some mornings thinking, “If I'd been born into a landed gentry family, this book would only take me 2 months to write.”

Of course, all the grunt jobs I’ve worked in my life have given me great fodder for my books. Did someone call me a cockeyed optimist?



Jess Lourey said...

Sounds like a fantastic vacation, Alice! I actually refuse to write on vacation, though I'll sketch the layout to places I'm writing about. And read. But I applaud your work ethic!

And if I had been born rich, I'd be lazy rather than a writer. Just guessing. Time to clean house.

G.M. Malliet said...

All looks lovely, Alice!

I think Jess is right. Huge amounts of money can make you lazy. It might make you into a big philanthropist and art collector (that's what I would do), but seldom are tons of money and leisure conducive to turning someone into a writer. I wonder if a little money cushion doesn't help, though. That and a solid marriage/relationship.

I have given up pretending I'm going to write on vacation. Instead I keep my eyes and ears open, and at most make a note of some place name I don't want to forget.

Lisa Bork said...

Alice, I can only write home alone in our office where no one can see me talking to myself.

I don't think I would write more if I was wealthy. I think I'd want to travel more :)

Glad you enjoyed your vacation!!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I'm green with envy over your lovely vacation! So happy you had such a great time.

I write while on vacation and when traveling for book promotion, but my word count drops rather than increases. I'm one of those folks who would become a lazy writer if I had all the time in the world to focus on it. I find my severe time crunches of juggling a job, a personal life and writing forces me to be much more productive. I also seem to write better under pressure.

Darrell James said...

Alice- If we're dreaming here, I would rather be wealthy "from" my writing. But I agree with Lisa. I get more writing done at home. Vacation feels like what it is..."vacation".

Nice writing spot tough.

G.M. Malliet said...

Yep, Darrell nailed it here: Being wealthy from writing would be a different kind of wealthy - way better.

Mary said...

Vacation spot is beautiful.
I don't write on vacation but i take a lot of notes on setting and dialogue.
I enjoyed the post.
Gotta get the dryer.

Kathleen Ernst said...

I often write on vacation. I also give myself a week or so a year to go stay at a friend's place, where I can write like crazy. I get twitchy if I have stuff in my head that isn't on paper; I guess I worry that I'm going to lose it.

Glad you had such a good vacation!

Carol Grace said...

What a great place you chose. Fabulous view! If I were there I wouldn't write a word. I have a hard enough time putting words on the page this summer here in my mountain-top home.
For my next blog I'm going to ask, What would you do if you were really really rich?

Keith Raffel said...

I envy you, Allice, but I've been trained to write by a Russian guy named Pavlov. Give me my green tea and a seat in the corner of my corner cafe and I can write. Anywhere else -- even a place with the most gorgeous vista -- the writing glands just do not salivate.

Alice Loweecey said...

Thanks for all the comments, gang. I too write well under pressure, in a coffee shop, while soccer or American football is on the TV. But give me peace and quiet and a beautiful view, and I'm all over a WIP like it's a Godiva chocolate bar. :D

I'm odd; whod'a thunk?

N. R. Williams said...

Landed gentry...no one answered that one. I fear that if I had been born and English lady I'd have ended up completely unhappy in a marriage to the English royal guy who's name starts with a 'C'. Yuck! As for writing, I need a laptop before the vacation writing will work. Riches, the real question is, would I be stupid? I'm thinking of that American Hotel Heiress here.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Lois Winston said...

Vacation? What's a vacation?