5 Ways for Writers to Work While on Holiday

If you read much about writers, you’ll think most of them never take a break from their writing routine, never skip the morning writing sessions, and certainly never take a holiday from writing! And then there are the rest of us.

How do we keep the writing muscles flexing while driving down the American West Coast highway? That’s where I am this week, and it’s a delightful dream of ancient redwood trees and sudden Pacific peeks and being blissfully alone, yes, alone! on the highway for long sublime stretches, at least on the northern part.  California, here I come!

5 Ways for Writers to Work While on Holiday

1.  Set a reasonable goal for what you will accomplish.  Mine is two hours of work in the evenings.

2.  Don’t beat yourself up when you’re not writing.  Fully embrace the waterfall walk–you’ll likely never pass this way again.

3.  Take pictures you can use for your trip album and your blog posts. (See above–me with a giant tree!) You may even see something that will work for your book, a unique character, perhaps.  I saw a man with the most unusual hairline at the back of his head.  Black, close-clipped hair grew all the way down the back of his neck to his t-shirt.  That picture will stay with me, for sure.

4.  Keep up with your social media and email.  There’s nothing worse than going home from a holiday and facing an inbox full of hundreds of unread emails, not to mention the writing tips and tricks you won’t learn because, once home, you’ll just delete everything and start new.  A trick I use is to delete what I don’t need and put the ones I’m keeping in a folder called ‘already read’.  When I get home I have only those to move to the appropriate place.

5.  …………..I’m on holidays, folks.  With thoughts of redwoods and mountains and the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge, I just couldn’t think of 5!

Perhaps my readers will help me out with their best ideas for working while on holidays!  Please, please leave a helpful hint in the comments.


20 thoughts on “5 Ways for Writers to Work While on Holiday

  1. Looks beautiful, Elaine. I like your tip for emails. I’ve lost a couple important emails lately and realize I must have a better system.

    I’ll be working full time for a couple months next week and I’ll have to put a routine in place to stay on top of writing/emails. Gloria shared her routine–getting up at 5 am to write. Oh man, she’s right, but 5 seems soooo early!


  2. Some really great advice, here. Especially about letting go and allowing yourself to enjoy your time off! I find that holidays are a great time for stepping outside of your comfort zone. If you’re a novelist, try writing poetry. If you’re a poet, write a short story.

    The last time I was on the west coast (Vancouver Island) I picked up a book on haiku. When we stopped somewhere particularly beautiful or inspiring, I would write a poem for it. It was a wonderful way to flex my creative muscles in a new way, while still taking time to appreciate the vistas!


    • Cat, that is such a good idea. I haven’t written haiku since I was teaching senior English and did what the students did. And I love Vancouver Island. Some beautiful scenery there.


  3. What a fun trip! I’m envious. One thing I do is stop in rest stops at state lines and collect free brochures. Any town I’m visiting, I also gather free newspapers, Chamber of Commerce brochures etc. You never know when this kind of information will contain just the right details.


    • I never thought of that, Gay, but I’m worried you’ll become the little old lady with so many piles of stuff you can only sneak through pathways in your home. Tell me it isn’t so! Still, I love to hear a great new idea and that is one. Thanks so much!


  4. Isn’t “wriing while on holidays” an oxymoron? If writing is your work and not just a hobby perhaps you should REALLY take a holiday from it.

    That’s not to say you shouldn’t immerse yourself in what you are seeing in case it may come in handy in your writing.

    Hmm. Did I just contradict myself?


    • So this Rurh person, could that be my friend, Ruth? Did you see the spelling of your name, Ruth? Know what I’m doing for my writing today? Just answering emails and keeping in touch with family. My brain is tired so am going to lounge in our big bed and read a book tonight.


  5. I write differently when I’m taking a vacation. At home, I’m focused and goal oriented. I commit to writing at least 500 new words per day on my computer, for better or worse. On vacation, I only write longhand in a notebook if the mood strikes. Like you say, if a scene or a particular character calls for it. I don’t push it though. If I don’t feel like writing, I don’t. It’s nice to give the process a break. Enjoy your trip. It sounds wonderful.


  6. We did that trip last summer. Looks like you are in the Redwoods or the Olympic forest. I hope it’s a fabulous trip for you.

    I take a writing journal with me and often do “writing practices” while i’m away. Pick a topic (say, A Blustery Day or The Tallest Tree in the Forest) and write. I’ve gotten some amazing stuff from random topics. My topic one day was “A shopping spree” and out of it came my book Energy Weavers.

    The other thing I do is take an old story that I think has potential and keep working on it. I just finished three novellas this way.

    I think we find inspiration everywhere. Just look around. And I do write every single day I’m on holiday unless we are travelling in the car. I really can’t not write.


  7. Elaine, You’re amazing! I’d leave Canada for years without a forwarding address. You go on a beautiful holiday and post daily. You don’t need tips on how to do this right. Enjoy!


      • Elaine, I was curious about your upcoming book on the Loyalists of Niagara.
        Was the Ancaster Historical Society helpful with their records of the trials for treason.
        And from Hamilton, were you able to obtain the eye witness acount of the executions by ‘Drawn and Quartered’.
        The witness, John Ryckman, is buried in a Loyalist plot in Burlington.


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