In Stephen King's book On Writing, he says that he writes every day that he's working on a book. Vacations don't matter. Birthdays, holidays, the book still needs to be worked on, and so he does. I am not comparing myself to the King, however, now that I am trying to build a writing career, I wonder, can I live according to those rules?
Turns out this summer, I'd get a chance to test my mettle.
Before I get started, I'll admit that I would never plan to have to write on a vacation with my family. Vacation is supposed to be about taking time off, right? But this year, my annual Cape Cod vacation came smack in the middle of a very strict contracted deadline, so I had to figure out how to make both things happen without compromising either. I used King's words of wisdom, along with the fact that I felt grateful to have this specific problem to propel me forward.
The test: I needed to have a completed first draft of #thenextbook ready by the end of August. Could I do that and still take a vacation? Only time would tell.
(how I felt at the beginning of vacation)
Starting stats: 30,000 words. Goal: 1500-2000 words a day.
Here’s how it all played out:
My baby niece likes to get up super early so writing in the morning isn’t so productive. Pancake breakfasts with Becca are definitely worth giving up writing time for, but the book wasn’t going to write itself, sooo….
(our pancakes were not this fancy but....)
Day time is always beach time at the Cape. Unless it’s raining. Then it’s bowling time or movie time. Which is why I love it there. Walking to and from the beach with one or more of the kids gives us time to talk about everything and nothing and just enjoy each other’s company. You might wonder what the big draw is when I live in South Florida where beaches abound, but northern beaches are different. Rocks. Wind. Kites.I could stay on the beach all day on the Cape and be happy, but wasn’t going to happen with all the work I had to do. So back to Mark’s house I went, everyday, earlier than the rest, to grab some peace and quiet and some writing time.
It’s all hands on deck with my family at the Cape house. And we’ve developed routines over the years to play to everyone’s strengths. Many times that means I’m the cook, but this year that couldn’t happen. 2000 words a day is hard to fit in with beach time and cooking, so we adapted and brought shrimp and lobster and fish in almost every night and Mark manned the grill for the fish and burgers. It was a sacrifice, for sure, but my family all chipped in (translate: ate shrimp and lobster)to lessen my burden in exchange for a favorable mention in the acknowledgements for the WIP. How my family works.
(this always makes us do the lobster scene from My Best Friend's Wedding!)
This summer I had my ARCs for The Homecoming with me and I watched as Mark and Bonnie read it in one day. We are big readers in my family and are always passing around books, so it was cool to see them pass mine around for the second summer in a row.
After dinner, evening walks are the order of the day. We’ve been doing this for over 20 years and in that time we usually comment on the same houses, the same views, the same bunnies that we see along the way. Bonnie always feels the bunnies are having some sort of meetings when we see them, but we were all disappointed last year when they were few very few bunnies congregating. I postulated that maybe there had been a big bunny convention in Atlantic City or something or that Cape Cod had become blasé for the little beasts, but luckily this year, the bunnies were back in fully restored numbers. Yay!
Author life has changed my life in many ways since The Sister Pact was first contracted in July of 2014, but it’s stayed the same in the best ways possible. Now as I get ready to board my flight back to Florida, I have to compile my stats.
Current words on WIP: 41,000 Total words added: 11,000Average words per day: 1,375
So let’s review. I did NOT make my 1500-2000 words a day goal, but I came pretty close. And I’m still in great shape to reach my overall goal of having a good first draft completed by the end of August. So yay me!
(how I felt at the end of vacation!)