creativity / GHB / inspiration / life stuff / writing

Is it possible to take a holiday from writing?

After a brilliantly busy fifteen months following the launch of The Case of the Exploding Loo and The Case of the Exploding Brains, I’m having all the fun this summer with a month-long road trip along the west coast of America.

I’ve just finished the edits for the first book in my new series, Unicorn in New York, and my other deadlines aren’t looming too intensely. So, if I fancied it, this trip would be the perfect opportunity to take a month’s holiday from writing.

The question is whether it’s possible for me (or any writer) to enjoy a month that’s not spent scribbling away.

It all started well. As the world’s biggest sofa-sloth, this holiday has been a great opportunity for a spot of exercise. So far, I’ve cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to Sausalito and skated from Santa Monica pier down to Venice Beach (check out the ‘retro’ rental skates!).

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Unfortunately, the problem with being as lazy as I am is that even the tiniest bit of physical activity sends my brain into overdrive. I can’t remember the last time I had so many story ideas.

Not to mention the fact that I’ve experienced the most amazing sights, sounds and smells on this journey and they’re making me itch to put pen to paper. Check out these coastal views on the trip from San Francisco to Big Sur – and we haven’t even visited Joshua Tree or Grand Canyon yet. (Apologies for spoiling the view in the second picture. I was busy being King of the World . . . Well, King of Carmel . . . Well, King of a small rocky outcrop, somewhere in Carmel).



While I’ve managed to stop myself working on my latest manuscript, the urge to write has been sneaking into other activities, I’ve created about a zillion Facebook photo albums of our trip, complete with full commentaries as mini story replacements!

If I’m honest, I don’t think I’m going to be able to maintain the writing-free holiday. I’m getting a tiny bit cranky, my fingers are tingling, and without making a conscious decision to do so, I’ve started planning ways to fit some down-time into our next few stops.

Part of the problem is this trip is just so full of story starters. Check out a couple of them:

1) The restaurant where you’re in danger of being swept out to sea at any minute:

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2) The intriguing message we discovered in the concrete outside our apartment in Santa Monica:


3) The Irish bar, whose two specialities are ‘brunch’ and ‘arm wrestling’.


Not to mention the creative inspiration provided by a few minutes spent in a cell in Alcatraz (or wrapped in the wings of a vampire).


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I suspect several of these will be popping up in future stories.

If any writers are reading this, I’m curious. Did you write on your last holiday? What’s the longest break you’ve ever taken from writing? Did you enjoy it?

6 thoughts on “Is it possible to take a holiday from writing?

  1. Hi Rachel. 🙂

    I Always start a new story on my holiday! I don’t know what it is, but it’s just something about being relaxed and free to new ideas and thoughts, not worried or anything. 🙂

    (LOVE all your pics, and those skates are AWSOME! :D)

  2. Hi Laura. That holiday feeling is brilliant, isn’t it? I’m really enjoying it. Those skates were hilarious. I loved them and didnt want to give them back.

  3. Such a beautiful drive, Joan. Took hours because we kept having to stop and jump out to admire the view. We’re setting off on Monday to drive to Joshua Tree, which should be incredible in a different way. Then on to the Grand Canyon. I suspect I’ll be writing again by then!

  4. I’m exactly the same, Rachel and Joan. Travelling always inspires me and I end up writing in my diary and then, like you both, thinking of new stories and characters. 🙂

  5. Not that I’ve really been on holiday for the last few years, but I’m always writing in my head, wherever I go – even if it’s just spotting a name and storing it. I don’t think I could go ‘cold turkey’, writing’s just an innate part of me by now.
    Your pictures have reminded me of my honeymoon (this time 9 years ago); we did the same road trip. The scenery along the Big Sur is stunning and I remember being in that same cell in Alcatraz! We started in Vegas (did the Grand Canyon), Palm Springs, LA, Carmel, San Francisco – will never forget it

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