NaNoWriMo Hurdle #1: Writing on Vacation

One of the reasons I seriously considered not doing NaNoWriMo this year was because smack dab in the middle of November, the husband and I were heading off to fabulous Las Vegas for a weekend. Now, I’m sure some people could view the vacation as a glorious writing holiday, but I am not those people. To me, travel is great, but exhausting. I spend most of my energy trying to get from one place to another on time and without leaving my shoes in the security bin. I spent most of this month desperately trying to pull ahead enough to cover the three days we’d be gone.

When we left on Friday, I was about a half day ahead of the word count.

And this is where NaNoWriMo surprises me once again. On the plane flight out, I added 2,500 words to the manuscript. The next morning, I went straight to work and made the daily quota. I put in another 1,700 words on the plane ride home. I came home from the vacation almost two days ahead of the word count. Crazy.

Here’s what I learned about writing on vacation:

Get ahead, even if it’s only just a little bit. Before you leave, try to get ahead or at least stay on target. If you slip behind, it’s easier to justify not writing while traveling and you don’t want that to happen.

Write during the non-vacation time. There are certain parts of vacation that, to me, do not count as official vacation. These include long car rides, airplane time, waiting on your spouse to wake up and get ready to go out for the day, etc. Use these times to write. If you’re traveling by air it is totally worth it to bring your laptop or notebook and use the travel time to do some writing.

Adjust your priorities. You may find it’s worth taking the focus off word count for the duration of your vacation. Make time just to write. Maybe you’ll get in a 100 words, maybe a 1,000. Be flexible.

Rest. Seriously, don’t spend all your time worrying about your word count or your story. Make your vacation enjoyable.

Of course, now hurdle number two comes: Thanksgiving. We have company arriving this afternoon, a mattress frame to assemble, a kitchen to clean, vegetables to chop, a seating arrangement to figure out. In short, crazy times. And I already burned through most of my lead yesterday when I had to run errands and do all the shopping I didn’t do over the weekend. So while I have a decent strategy for writing on vacation, I have no idea how to find time to write in the midst of family and in-laws and holiday craziness. Any tips?

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