The Author vs. The Vacation

There are lots of cartoons and quotes frolicking around social media sites regarding authors on vacation. There seems to be a general consensus that authors cannot relax or slow their minds down, even when sun bathing or “relaxing.” Since I am an author and I am about to take a vacation, I thought I would write my two cents worth on this topic.

I think it’s probably a fairly accurate statement to say that most authors have a difficult time shutting down the idea generating center of their mind. Every person we meet (or even walk by), every place we visit, and every scenario we witness is a writing prompt for us. It doesn’t seem to matter if we’re at a daytime job (something we do on the side to support our writing habit), at a fancy restaurant with our significant other, at a movie, grocery shopping, asleep, or on vacation. The ideas continue to circulate through our conscious brains.

It’s true that it can be annoying sometimes. I can think of several situations in which it’s not appropriate to be thinking about whether or not you should kill off a favored character or if your villain is really that evil. But they’re not blog appropriate – at least not for my blog.

So where do we draw the line? What do we do to give ourselves a much needed break? I personally practice a little yoga to help keep myself “in the now” so to speak, have the occasional adult beverage that helps to slow down the mind (however, this can backfire on you. When I loosen up, my tongue also tends to loosen up as do my inhibitions, and I become a really really good copy writer and marketer.)

There are a lot of ways that people help their minds turn off (take reality tv for example. . . .seriously, PLEASE TAKE IT FAR FAR AWAY), but writers are one of the breeds of humans that ask themselves, is it truly necessary to shut off our brains?

I have a theory. In keeping with my tradition of non-research, I have not looked into this theory or tested it at all. I think that authors have something inside of them, call it a chemical imbalance, a hormone imbalance, a disorder, a gift, a special need, a power, WHATEVER you want to call it, that requires that we flesh out all of our thinking via plot points. I prepare myself for arguments, debates, defenses, general conversations, family gatherings, and even unhappy situations, with dialogue and storyline in my mind. These are typically not stories that I write down. But it’s a constant stream of dialogue and narrative that runs through my mind. If I try to stop and force my mind to settle down, it builds up and I end up tense and stress.

Now, before you get all defensive and run away from your computer, shouting to the world that “Ann believes authors have a disorder!!” please note that I use those terms in jest – they are mere examples. So chill out.

And that’s right. I said chill out. I’m a child of the 90’s. . .technically the 80’s, but I remember the 90’s better.

So I say why fight it. . .the internal dialogue, not being a child of the 90’s. Why would you want to fight being a child of the 90’s? I love the 90’s. So much happier. But why try to fix what isn’t broken? We function. . .well, I function. I can’t speak for everyone. I function just fine, even with an internal dialogue and narrative. It’s even helped me be prepared for some tough situations. So if you are laying in the sun, next to a pool or other body of water, sipping on your fruity drink, and breathing in the sweet sweet smell of sunscreen, and you’re still thinking of character development and end games, EMBRACE IT. Jot a few notes down if you feel so inclined. Or just let the narrative drone on, preferably with a smile on your face.

That being said, I will be on vacation next week. And while I will be reading and taking notes for book reviews, as well as doing some writing of my own, I will not be writing blogs next week. Say it with me people, DEAL WITH IT. 

photo credit: Juergen Kurlvink via photopin cc