Summer is in full swing now. Many of you have already taken your annual vacation, perhaps you’ve gone to the beach or the mountains to unwind and reset your stress levels. Some of you, like me, have opted to stay home for whatever reason. For many, money is tight and with that, you’re forced to suck it up for another year. ..hence the staycation.
I can’t say that I like the staycation, though I understand its purpose. I’ve unfortunately not gone on a vacation of any magnitude for about 7 years now. It seems every year my vacation time is sucked away by blizzards, hurricanes and the flu. It’s to the point now that I’ve become genius at devising quick getaways in order to try to “feel” like I’ve gone on vacation without spending the money or the time to get there.
As a writer, I have always fantasized about going on an extraordinary retreat. Not some 4-day sojourn to a house with a few of my writing buddies. I’m talking about the cruise to the Bahamas where the ship is full of writers, both new and famous. I’m talking about the getaway in the Tuscan hills where bestselling authors make up the panel of daily speakers. I’m talking about the Jacuzzi, masseuse, room service and peace to dream and write…. Yeah. Like I said, it’s a fantasy of mine. (Here’s one)
With that fantasy far out of reach and still wanting to get away, I’ve managed to come up with small vacations of my own to squeeze in some of that sorely needed down time and peace for creativity. One such getaway I managed was back in May. A local writers group was holding a seminar about an hour from my home and the speaker was the Directorial Editor of a major publishing house’s digital line. The topic was something I was very interested in and since it was so close to my home, I didn’t need to worry about travel expenses aside from a bit of gas. What I did do was book a room at the hotel for the weekend and I treated it as if I were an out of town guest. The seminar was all day Saturday so I arrived Friday evening and spent the night unwinding in my room after a long day at work. I had saved up about $150 as frivolous spending money for myself (It was my birthday the previous weekend and this was my gift to myself) and so I ordered room service and relaxed. I was able to sleep in a bit and be bright and eager and ready for the seminar, which took me ten minutes to get to on another floor. That evening I was able to go back to my room and work on my writing using things I had learned while still in the peace of my own room away from the usual distraction that are unavoidable at home. I was relaxed. I was doing something I enjoyed and I got work done. That’s a win-win-win! Of course I was able to cheat on this one a bit. The room was $300 for the 2 nights but since it was my birthday, it was gifted to me to get me out of the house.
Running along those same lines, even if there are no seminars in your town or anywhere nearby, poke around on the internet for inexpensive hotels that are far enough away that you are disconnected from your home. (Make sure the hotel is reputable and you don’t end up in a roach motel that will make your stay miserable.) Buy or rent a seminar or instructional DVD on a topic you love and make your own getaway that will inspire and refresh you. If the idea of learning doesn’t excite you, use your time away to write, observe, daydream… rebuild your creativity banks. Use the location you choose to give you new ideas. If you live in the country and you want to write a thriller, consider taking a room near a city where the landscape is totally different. Be adventurous, go someplace that you find intriguing and maybe a little risky (but not too risky, remember, you’ll be alone). Wherever you decide to go, enjoy it and let yourself unwind.