Why Do Writers Need a Vacation?!

08/26/2016 at 4:19 pm (Author Updates)

A common conception is that writers spend most of their time in their heads, conversing with people who don’t actually exist and frolicking around in locations that they’ve never actually visited. I can only speak for myself, but I do enjoy wandering the terrain of my own head more than I like taking vacations to actual places and faraway locales. Imagining a trip to the Alaskan wilderness seems, quite frankly, more fun than actually freezing my butt off there.

But in order to craft deeper, more genuine, fiction, I think that a writer does need to invest a good amount of their time and energy, and (in certain circumstances) surrender to the discomfort and unpredictability of visiting a place a greater distance from their own home than the local supermarket. If a writer has an honest, all-sensory experience in an unfamiliar surrounding I do believe it will only help when it comes to their describing a vast array of (real and fictional) locations or exploits in a work of fiction.

So I did it. I abandoned my comfy chair, the perfectly set temperature of my home, and the allure of my fingers tapping onto my computer keyboard in order to venture out to an undiscovered (by me) land. I hopped on a plane and landed in Costa Rica, in the province of Guanacaste, ripe with rainforests and stunning views of … well, everything.

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There I set my imaginary life aside and gave myself over to a real adventure. I witnessed howler monkeys swinging from vine to vine, ziplined above canyons in the middle of a torrential downpour, dipped my feet into the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, read a book of pure pleasure fodder, and swam under a waterfall. Mostly, I enjoyed myself and lived completely in the moment.

Will this trip I took help make my future writing more vivid, descriptive or authentic? Maybe yes, maybe no. Will it add more significant meaning, balance and richness to the life I currently live? Emphatically yes.

Every writer needs a vacation. A vacation from the writing, from the routine, and from ourselves.

 

So, where should I go next?!

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photos by Justin McFarr

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