(Transcript) – Should you write on vacation? My answer might surprise you.


Morgan MacDonald : Hello. Today we’re going to be talking about whether or not you should be writing while on vacation. I’M on vacation, as you can see. Sunshine, sunglasses, and little one in my lap. We’re at the lake today, so I wanted to do a little weekend casual Scope with you guys. …Hey Darnell. Just joined the room… As you come in let me know your name, where you’re from, and if YOU are doing anything fun this weekend.


So today I want to talk about whether or not you should write while on vacation. This is a constant,  sort of, dilemma for writers. Part of what we love about being a writer is that it IS flexible. I mean, we can write wherever we are. But it’s also, I think, prone to making us feel guilty that we SHOULD write wherever we are [laughter]. So how do we balance that?


So let me do a quick intro. I am Morgan Gist MacDonald. I’m a writing coach, editor, and author. I run my business and my blog out of http://www.paperravenbooks.com … [irrelevant comment] … So we are on the lake today. I’ve got two kids out on a paddle boat fishing, and I’ve got this one with me, and my mother-in-law was just walking by. I don’t even think she knows what Periscope is [laughter].


Yeah. So my goal is to help you in your writing. So if you are on vacation today this might be a question you are asking yourself. That is, “Do I write, or do I NOT write?” Because I’m a writing coach I’m a big fan of timelines and setting expectations up ahead of time. So what I actually recommend is that you look at the project that you’re working on. So I work with a lot of clients on books. So we map out a book actually in a week-by-week phase. We know which weeks are,  sort of, “on” writing weeks, and which weeks are not. Like, for instance, if I’m editing a draft then the writer is not writing, because I’m editing. So the writer has these “on” periods and these “off” periods.


So that’s something I would recommend YOU to think about for your project. Whether you are writing something short like blogs – and if you DO write blogs I recommend you BATCH blogs. So if you’re in a blog writing week think about how many hours you need to write those blogs, and plan that ahead of time. If you’re writing a book, are you in the first draft, or are you in a revision phase? If you’re in the first draft, how many weeks do you intend to spend writing? And you CAN plan this out by weeks. I mean, a lot of writers are just going by the seat of their pants, and just writing as they can, but I actually think that you are more productive when you plan it out in advance. So if you’re writing a 20,000 or 30,000 word ebook, it’s a reasonable estimation to say that you can write 3,000 to 5,000 words a week. So to write your first draft you’re looking at five or six weeks, easy. You could do it in four… [irrelevant comment] …


So when you’re on vacation you look at that calendar and say, “Ïs this one of those four weeks when I’m really trying to get my draft out, and finished, within this four week time frame?”, and you’re going on vacation. I say ABSOLUTELY. Write. Write at least an hour that day, even though you’re on vacation. Because you’ve got a larger vision and a larger plan that’s already in place, and you’ve got momentum. You can’t afford to lose that momentum when you’re a writer.


But if you’re not in that phase. If you’re not writing a first draft, and you’re not on a deadline, [or] a timeline, then DON’T Don’t make yourself feel guilty if you’re not writing, because you don’t NEED to be. That’s the beauty of a timeline. It releases you from feeling that you have to be writing all the time. You know when you’re on and when you’re not, and when you’re not you can take time to not be writing, and enjoy it, and unplug, and feel good about life.


So that’s, kind of, MY short answer. You guys who are in the room, do you have any questions? Are you on vacation right now? Are you relaxing for the weekend? Are you writing, or are you NOT writing? Let me know. Put it in the chat.


The caveat for this… Hey Pam, who just joined…is I DO still carry a notebook. So if inspiration does hit I want to be available to write down what I was thinking about so I can come back to it later.So as people are joining, a quick recap is that I recommend that you actually plan out what you’re writing in advance, whether it is blogs or books…   


Darnell Cureton ( https://twitter.com/DarnellCureton ) : Working and writing.


Morgan MacDonald : … Darnell is working AND writing. Nice. So you’re still going to your job today too. Sorry Darnell. That’s not very fun. But good for you for sticking with it… So the quick recap is that I recommend you plan out your writing in advance. So, for instance, if you are in the thick of writing your first draft, and you know that you want to spend four weeks writing your first draft, [then] if your vacation falls in one of those four weeks I say write through it. Keep that momentum. Don’t let the pace of your writing be broken up by a vacation. Write for an hour if you can. But if [you’ve?] finished a draft, and you’re about to start a revision phase, take time.


In fact, I had a conversation with one of my authors recently, where she had just been really slogging through some revisions, and was ready to go back and do like a phase where she reads the whole draft out loud – which is what I recommend for everyone, especially if you’re self-editing and not bringing in outside editing. She was in that moment between having just done some heavy revisions, and getting ready to read the whole draft out loud, and she was like, “I’m so tired. You know? My brain hurts.” I was like, “You know what? Take AT LEAST twenty-four hours off. Really, take a WEEK off if you can.” Because that space helps you to, kind of, refresh and come back to the words looking at them in a new way. So there are ebbs and flows of writing… [loud background sound]..We are really close to a Navy base. I mean, in Fort Worth, Texas there’s a Navy base pretty close by.


If you’re in the middle of writing a first draft, or in the middle of revisions, make that time even on vacation. And keep it REALISTIC. You know, you’re not going to write four hours a day on vacation. I mean, I’m trying to write during her naptime, so I get an hour in the morning, and about an hour in the afternoon, and that’s plenty for maintaining momentum. But if you’re NOT. If you’re in between phases, [and] you’ve already written a draft, and you’re ready to go back to do revisions, break. Take a break, and DON’T feel guilty about it  There’s enough guilt going on in our lives. Just take that break and let your mind refresh.


Alrighty guys. Speaking of naptime, look at this little one. Oh, she’s so tired [laughter]. I’m going to go put her down for her nap, and do some writing. Darnell, hope your week of working and writing goes well. Everybody else, thank you for joining on this weekend Scope. [We’re] keeping it casual at the lake. If you want to talk more about writing, next week we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty of writing your first draft and stuff. So hit the little “Peri Buddy” down there [to] change that plus to a check, and you’ll be following me, and you’ll get notifications.


So thanks guys. I hope you have a good weekend. I might check in again tomorrow. We’ll see, depending on how this one cooperates. But good to see yáll. Talk to you soon. Bye.


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