How often do you say to yourself, “I need a vacation”? I’ve been saying it a lot lately. Which means that it’s past time to take one. Vacations have been shown to reduce stress – duh. They’ve also been shown to increase productivity, creativity, and happiness. Sounds good, right?
While plopping my backside in the sand and soaking up some rays sounds wonderful, the truth is that I’m likely to lay there in the sun and think about work projects and school. Not much of a break from stress!
Experts suggest taking a different viewpoint of vacation and it may be exactly what you need to get the stress break you desire and deserve as well as further your writing career at the same time. I’m talking about a writing vacation, a vacation that’s dedicated to helping you relax and take your writing career to the next level.
Here’s what it might look like:
A Writer’s Retreat
There are some amazing writer’s retreats to partake in. Esteemed creativity coach, Eric Maisel, holds regular “Deep Writing” workshops around the world. (http://ericmaisel.com/san-francisco-deep-writing-workshop/)
Here in Colorado there are beautiful retreats nestled deep in the mountains. However beneficial they may be (and I’m sure they’re amazing) they also feel quite indulgent. They don’t always fit the budget and the bottom line for a writer’s retreat is that you really just want to find a place that:
- Is quiet
- Inspires you
- Is free from distractions
- Isn’t so relaxing that you just sleep all day instead of writing
I think that’s something that you can create yourself, right? Later in the week I’m going to publish a nice post about how to create your own writer’s retreat. Today, I’ll try to stay focused on the benefits of a retreat and a vacay from your real life.
Learn Something New
Another option for a vacation is to learn something new. To take a trip, even a day trip or a long weekend, and to do something you wouldn’t normally do. Here’s an example of what I mean.
In the very first book I tried writing the hero and heroine rock climbed. I’d never climbed a day in my life. So I took a class. It was a two day class over the weekend at a local climbing gym and I learned about more than climbing. I learned about self-rescue on the rock, handling emergencies, and about different climbing techniques and approaches. It was a total break from my real world and it was “research” for a book. It was amazing.
Of course, you don’t have to learn rock climbing or take a shooting class. You can visit a city where your story takes place and learn more about the area. Scout it for scenes in your book and take detailed notes on what it looks like, smells like, sounds like and more. Spend a full weekend being a tourist from the eyes of your characters.
When you try something new, you help your brain recover because it’s able to focus on new activities. It diverts you from your normal sources of stress and fatigue.
Completely Check Out
Finally, if neither one of those ideas are an option for you, consider just checking out for an afternoon, a day, or a weekend. And by checking out I mean completely signing off of all technologies. Don’t check your email, stay off of Facebook and don’t answer the phone if it causes you stress. Grab a good book and a spot in the sun and relax. It’s good for you and your writing career. Really, it is.
A Reminder of the Benefits…
- Better physical health
- More productivity
- Happier relationships
- Newer perspectives
- Increased mental focus
- Lower chance of burn out
- Reduced stress
- Improved mental health and happiness
Every single one of these benefits has a direct impact on your writing. The better you feel, the better your ability to write and to focus on what matters most to you.
The bottom line…
While a luxurious writers retreat in the Swiss Alps sounds amazing, it’s not always possible. Embrace the opportunities around you and prioritize time away. Give yourself a vacation – it’s important and necessary.