The Concept of Vacation

12 Jul

Writer’s Block.  Writer’s Cramp.  Writers’ Strike.  What is it that plagues me?

Thunderheads build on the horizon.  The air hangs heavy with humidity; even the sky’s too lazy to bother with rain.  Heat shimmers across the blacktop, bringing on that familiar mirage.  Muscles and bones slacken, like puddles of melting ice cream.  The casual baring of flesh begins:  ties loosen, sleeves roll, shoes lay abandoned on the burnt grass.

A certain lassitude takes over in summer.  Years of school trains the brain to rest.  Oh – the list of excuses could go on, but I can’t muster the motivation to find more than one.

I’m a goal setter.  Every day starts with a list of things that need to be done.  Deadlines are a great motivational tool.  And yet I find myself twelve days into this month without setting a writing goal, without penning a single word of my work-in-progress.

It’s not Writer’s Block.  That implies more of a long-term problem – a lack of passion, a panicked state of impending doom over that blank page.

It’s not Writer’s Cramp.  My hands seem to be working just fine.  I’m penning this, right?

So is it Writers’ Strike?  Would I rather be dipping my toes in a pool, contemplating the sunlight dappling blue depths?  Watching water bugs skim the surface, catching a ride on the current?  Do I want to have an unhurried conversation with my kid about the phases of the moon, or how tree leaves turn over before the rain comes?  Just live in the moment?

Am I worried that this the start of nothingness, that my beloved project will end up unfinished, abandoned, dissolving into inertia?

It’s right there, on page seven of my story.  The words mock me, laugh and dance off the page.

“It was about time I figured out the concept of vacation.”


14 Responses to “The Concept of Vacation”

  1. Gareth July 13, 2011 at 4:46 PM #

    Hey Dianne,
    To be honest everyone goes through this to some degree, I get really excited with a project, get so much done and then it fizzles on the back whilst I take a break. I’ve lost track of the unfinished stories I have and I think the biggest thing that you have to do is figure out if you’re writing in the right genre. For me I tried a good few short stories and discovered that my writing lays more in the Picture Book Market. Sounds strange and I’ve still got the adult idea’s to work through but currently I’m honing my skills to make sure that when I begin again I get that something special.


    • jdwaye July 13, 2011 at 8:16 PM #

      Thanks for dropping by, Gareth. The genre issue is a good point.

  2. Anne Michaud July 15, 2011 at 9:08 AM #

    I’m afraid writers can never take real vacations: whenever I tell myself today will be a writing-free day, I get the best ideas, original twists and snappy dialogue lines. Such is the writer’s life.

    Way to go, Di – I am LOVING your blog:)

    • jdwaye July 15, 2011 at 10:30 AM #

      That’s the way it goes. I see Chago best through my peripheral vision, when I’m not focused on that blank page. Like when I’m leaning out the upstairs window with a paint can in hand, digging weeds out of the garden, or going on a spider hunt in the basement. Nothing gets those creative juices flowing faster than an attempt at cleaning the basement.

  3. CDNWMN July 15, 2011 at 1:37 PM #

    I have no problem leaving writing on the back burner as the second my little boy falls within hugging distance, all else is forgotten. Mostly I have the opposite problem, what can I leave left undone today so that I can write? (I seriously need to spend the money on a maid so I can feel free to write more, sigh)

    • jdwaye July 17, 2011 at 5:28 PM #

      Hi Tammy. It’s hard to juggle stuff when you add the kid factor in there. You are an expert juggler.

  4. angela addams July 15, 2011 at 3:54 PM #

    What about setting quotas for yourself – like 1000 words a day or something? That’s what I do – although I’m not one to talk – I’ve been so caught up in my rewrite that I haven’t written anything new in almost a year! I’ll be getting on that soon enough though!

    • jdwaye July 17, 2011 at 5:27 PM #

      Hi Angie! I do set quotas for myself, which is why I was surprised about not having one for this month. Now how about starting that next book? I need something good to read.

  5. Patricia Hollett July 16, 2011 at 10:03 AM #

    Oh I hear that blog so clearly Di. I’ve been plagued with the same thing for a few months now. A little writing here and there, but the ‘to do lists’ seem to take priority daily, and then everything else is backburner, including my writing.
    Taking Kelley’s course last week gave me some clarity. I realized what I’d been doing wrong. The path wasn’t clear, but now it is. And I’ve found a new lease on my writing, and I’m plundering forth again.
    I knew it. I didn’ know what to do about it. But, now I’m gung ho again, and I know we all go through it. Something will trigger your motivation to write again. Just look for a sign. 🙂

    • jdwaye July 17, 2011 at 5:25 PM #

      Hey Pat – so glad you squeezed into the Kelley course! I’m still feeling motivated, but sometimes you need that time to let things simmer. So what have I been doing in the meantime? Reading research books – go figure.

  6. Gareth July 16, 2011 at 5:38 PM #

    LOL, The weird thing is when you tell most people to take a break from work, they can do. A writer is never alone when they have thier mind. So in essence the writer never really can completely seperate. Tricky and difficult and a cracking post.

    • jdwaye July 17, 2011 at 5:22 PM #

      You just can’t shut off that internal dialogue!

  7. phoenixfirewolf July 17, 2011 at 1:37 PM #

    Sometimes you just gotta take a break. I’ve had that happen to me many times in the past 🙂 I usually come back from my short breaks ready to go and my words are better for it.


    • jdwaye July 17, 2011 at 5:21 PM #

      Hey Julie. It’s hard to give yourself permission to take a break, isn’t it?

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