Instead I got to write during the day. On vacation.
When you’re on vacation as a writer, you’re never really on vacation. You’re always thinking about this plot or that character. It never goes away, even on days when you say, “Today I’m not writing.”
A great many writers wear this like a badge of honor, an “I’m always at work” kind of thing designed to deflect comments from people who think that writing somehow isn’t work. I’ve done it quite a lot myself.
But honestly, I wish I could get it to stop. I wish I could shut my writing off for a while and give myself a real break from it. But after 30 years of training myself to write every day, I find I can’t. There are times when I NEED to shut my writing off. I need the rest. I need to get away from it. My brain won’t listen, though, and it becomes tiring. I would like to enjoy a week, or even a day, when I don’t think about writing at all. And yet, story ideas or thoughts about characters push their way in.
In fact, the only time writing isn’t far from my mind is when I’m solving problems in a locked room game or when I’m doing things with my husband that he wouldn’t appreciate me detailing here. Even when I watch a movie or TV show, I’m looking at the writing.
It’s a hazard of the profession, I think. Other professions have their own hazards, of course. Police officers can’t unsee people breaking the law even when they’re off duty. The neighbors are forever asking nurses or doctors for medical help. Musicians have a hard time enjoying music for its own sake. This one is the writer’s hazard.
–Steven Harper Piziks