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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Stop Chasing It

Stop Chasing It

Thank you to everyone who expressed birthday wishes for my daughter and who wished me an injury-free skiing holiday in Killington, Vermont over spring break.

We all came down from the mountain safe and sound, although I reached the unhappy revelation that I am now the weakest link in the Salerni ski team. I don’t have as much stamina as the others. My knees ache after a couple hours on the slopes. And I have no interest in throwing myself down headwalls like the rest of the family.
So every day, I trudged back to the hotel early while the family went on without me. I iced my knees. (boo) I had a glass of wine. (yay) And I tried to force that brainstorming I said I was going to do. (double boo)
It wasn’t happening. I had no inspiration. If anything, I was more confused than ever. And that depressed me just as much as not being able to keep up with the skiing maniacs in my family.
The fact is, I wasn’t giving myself much of a vacation. I was mad about being out of shape and off the slopes, and I was mad that my ideas didn’t flow forth like … um, wine.
Finally, I thought back to my trip to Mexico last summer. And the one to Hollywood/Catalina Island the year prior. And the one to Disney World the year before that. And I remembered that, although I dragged my laptop along on all those trips, I didn’t get a bit of writing done. I tried. Sometimes I forced it, but that was always a mistake.
After I got home from Disney World, I finished writing THE CAGED GRAVES. And when I got home from California, I finished VOLTAGE. And after Mexico, I sent THE EIGHTH DAY off to my agent. So, I realized – Stop chasing it. You’re on vacation, and you’re supposed to be having fun. Writing is fun, but not on vacation. Stop it.

I let go of my project. I got a massage at the hotel. I may have had some martinis at the hotel bar. I beta read a friend’s manuscript. I got back out on the slopes with the fam every day.

And when I got home, I sat down and wrote the EIGHTH DAY series plan that wouldn’t come to me in Vermont – in just a few days.
Lesson learned? No matter how much I love writing, I need time away from it as much as I need time away from teaching.
And the best way to catch a breakthrough in your project … is to stop chasing it.

11 Responses to Stop Chasing It

  1. Great that you realized a break on vacation is good. I came to that realization too and stopped dragging my computer with me on vacations, especially since my husband’s parents and my mom don’t have Internet. I just use my phone for Internet and love traveling with less weight.

  2. SA Larsenッ says:

    This advice is PERFECT for me, right now! We’re heading on vacation later this week, and I’ve been struggling with how much I should write and how I’ll schedule the time in. You’ve really given me something to think about.

  3. Looks like a fun time was had by all 🙂

  4. Hey, you lasted several hours. That’s impressive in my books.

    I was in Disneyland and Anaheim not long ago. And for once I didn’t write while on vacation. I was planning my next novel, but I became a slacker at that. But at least I finally came up with ideas for it, and once I got home . . . . 😀

  5. What a great realization. I’ll will have to bear that in mind. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip. Yay for massages!

  6. mshatch says:

    yes, a vacation means a vacation from everything – even sometimes the things we love 🙂

  7. Linda G. says:

    Absolutely! It’s tough for those creative batteries to recharge if you drain the continuously. 🙂

  8. Joanne Fritz says:

    You MAY have had some martinis at the hotel bar. HA HA! Bet they helped too.

    I’ve never once managed to write while on vacation. Usually too busy during the day and too tired at night! But my WIP is always marinating in my brain, which I insist is a form of writing.

    Glad you had a nice vacation. And you came home to springtime at last!

  9. Robin says:

    Beautiful, and so true. Enjoy the vacation, and let it come when it does. Glad it’s flowing now, and that you had a good trip. Sorry about the knees!

  10. AmyMak says:

    Beautiful trip – and I love the thought of enjoying the moment and the inspiration will come. Can’t wait to see what you turn out next.

  11. Hi Dianne .. so glad you had a lovely, safe, skiing holiday – and you got a bit of what you like to do .. chill out with a glass in hand ..

    Then the muse will return .. I’m pleased about that ..

    Write on write on .. cheers Hilary