Part 1 of this blog post series on writer vacations discussed why writers need a writing vacation. Part 2 talked about the different types of writer vacations you might take and how they can help your writing, overcoming your fear of taking time off from your normal routine, how to accommodate your family and how to get away when you have no money. Part 3 examines writing activities you can do while on vacation and how to use the time to start those new habits you have been meaning to develop but haven't begun due to your busy schedule.
Now let's look at when to take your writer vacation.
Scheduling Your Writer Vacation
You've decided to take a writer vacation. You have decided where you will go or if you will do a stay vacation. Now, when should you take your writer vacation? Here are some tips to help you choose a time that will help you get the most from your break:
1. Pick a time between major writing project deadlines.
Editors are out of the office during holidays. They aren't reading your manuscripts anyway, so take advantage of the work cycle and schedule your time away during traditional holiday times.
When you have mailed off your manuscript to your first readers
What do you do after you finish your book or short story? You start on the next one. But a couple of times a year it is an excellent time to take a week and schedule a writer vacation.
Indie Publishers can take a writer vacation too, in fact, you need one just as much.
Indie publishers are writing and managing the editing, proofing, and production processes of every book they publish themselves. Using outside contractors can make the job more manageable, but if you are self-publishing, you are juggling even more tasks. As was mentioned in Part 1 of this post series, you need to prevent burnout by giving your creative self a break to recharge from time to time.
As an Indie-Publisher you have to set deadlines for each writing project if you want to be a full-time indie-publisher and make enough money to cover your expenses. Incorporate two vacations a year into your schedule. Indie-publishing requires a long-term commitment. Making time for a writer vacation helps you stay healthy, mentally and physically, to achieve your indie-publishing goals.
When you finish your revisions is the perfect time for a break.
Many writers write every day, seven days a week. Having struggled to start the habit of daily writing, they don't want to risk endangering that discipline. Other authors loved to write. They look forward to putting words on the paper. A vacation is not enjoyable for these writers if they try to not write. For this reason, do not schedule your writer vacation when you are trying to meet a deadline.
Conferences are writer vacations!
I always schedule two conferences per year because getting away from my writing desk to mingle with other writers, take workshops and listen to experts on panels always rekindles my love for writing. I always come back with renewed enthusiasm for my next project.
Tip: Use your conference getaway to set your writing deadline for a book project. Then go back and set up your timeline for completing the book. It is always nice to go to a writing conference and be able to say, “I just finished this book about…” Giving a pitch to an editor? You will know all about the plot if you finish the manuscript before your pitch session!
Don't worry if you write every day about not writing during the conference. There is a reason there are so many empty tables at breakfast time. A lot of the authors are up in their room getting their word counts or chapters done before the day's events begin!
2. Have kids? Make sure your writer vacation falls when they have a school break.
Do you have a family? Then include them on your writer vacation by choosing a time to get away when they are on school holidays or over the summer break. New experiences spark a writer's imagination and are great educational experiences for your kids. Married? Joint experiences help bind couples with shared memories. Including your family gives you not only bonding time, but also provides you, the writer, with others close to you who can help you with details of your time away you might not remember. How did your five-year-old react to that ostrich on that ostrich farm that suddenly stuck its neck out to inspect your child? What was your spouse's reaction? How about the guide that knew that ostriches can be a bit unpredictable?
Create memories with your family and build up your character depth insights by choosing a time your entire family can join you.
3. Still not convinced you can spare the time for a writer vacation?
Most writers thought at one time that they couldn't write every day, but to develop the habit, more experienced authors suggested they start writing for 10 minutes a day and then build the amount of time they wrote from there. Once you got in the habit of sitting down and writing every day, you probably found you enjoyed the experience so much that ten minutes quickly became one, two or three hours (or more)!
Do the same with your writer vacation time. Start out taking a morning off. Then, take a day. Build up to a weekend and later a week. You will find that writer vacations relieve the stress that comes from writing professionally. You will even find yourself looking forward to the change of pace and scenery.