Traveling on Empty

Going someplace always sounds like such fun–I’m just back from a trip to Florida. And, yes, it was fun. It was also exhausting, stressful, and I’m so glad to be back home. Which makes me wonder–do we take trips just so we can be glad to be home? And either airplanes have gotten noisier or I’ve gotten more touchy about it, but I’d be happy to skip any more flights. Amtrack here I come. But I always think that I’ll do more writing on these types of trips than I manage.

There’s time at the airport (too many distractions), time on the plane (managed editing more than writing because you have someone next to you watching every key stroke because they are shoved so close to you they can’t help it), time at the hotel (managed a little, but there are people to meet and events to go to and late nights to spend staying up late drinking wine and talking because how often do you get to do that with favorite gal pals). By the flight home, I only wanted to sleep. So, no, not that much writing.

Which leads me to believe that I write better when bored. When I have nothing else to do, I actually get a lot done. I’ve done this before, taken four days and gone someplace and locked myself in with my laptop. First day there’s lots of evasions, but then my brain settles and I write until I’m exhausted. And I make sure to stay next to a food place so there’s no fussing over meals–it’s eat and back to the keyboard.

It’s taken me two days to recover from the trip–the conference was great, but by the third day my brain was ready to explode (I do not want to hear the words “discovery” or “velocity” again for a very long time–they were both used too much).  This is where I’d like to have a clone of myself and send the clone and then have a way to merge the clone back into me…uh, on the other hand, that’s probably a dangerous idea. So let’s just stick with staying close to home…and we’ll stay in touch with email for a time (and phone…and maybe letters). And no trips for a while, not until the tank is full and I’ve forgotten how much I hate airports. And maybe I’ll get some writing done.

Shannon Donnelly

Now at Book View Cafe:

A Dangerous Compromise

A Compromising Situation

Under the Kissing Bough



Traveling on Empty — 3 Comments

  1. Shannon –

    It was nice to see you at the conference! My reaction is much the same as yours, though I did dig out time to write my 500 words/day. But yeah, exhausting and stressful.

    Retreats are good for getting away from day-to-day distractions.

  2. The notion that we travel just so we can be glad to get back home is an interesting one. Even when I go on holiday I generally find that after 10 days or so I get a yearning to back home… It’s not in any way dissatisfaction with my holiday, more I suppose a yearning for a familiar environment.

    Those flights with the cramped seats are rather stressful. I am 6′ 4″ tall which gives me problems with cheap airlines, as you can imagine. I always go out of my way to make sure my wife & I get those seats by the emergency exit with more leg room.

    But I do LOVE retreats, especially ones where I see lots of trees. As my current novel is set in an alien forest for much of the time, I have a natural fascination with trees probably much more than any other aspect of nature. And I also find that once I get settled in my isolation, the words flow out of me.