Away we go now, on the plane, train, in the car or just poodling around the back-yard, off for our sumer holidays, far-far away from work. So, here are some writing things to do for any sort of holiday, no matter budget, family constraints or if it’s a fortnight or a month.
1. Write some lists – to do, to be, to have, to love, to listen to, to read, to see, to visit. Lists are lovely things, find the number you vibrate to and go for it. 7 things to read, 6 things to bake, 5 things to visit in this place. The satisfaction of lists is you can tick or cross out as you complete tasks and it gives you a wonderful sense of achievement – as if you’ve actually done something useful this holiday. You can also create lists for characters – their favourite books, films, food; what they love; what they hate; what they’re frightened of. Yes, you’ve guessed it, the possibilities are endless, so get started now, this week, not next, or the holiday will be gone before you know it.
2. Watch people – wether you end up in Paris, Corfu, Cornwall or Orpington. Sit somewhere public and watch, but subtly. Make notes – physical characteristics, clothing, mannerisms; who they are with, how they speak to each other; what they are doing – pets? Then speculate – who are these people, what sort of life might they have, what sort of story could you fabricate about them?
3. Visit a new (or old) place with eyes wide open. Similar to people watching, you must very deliberately take in all you see, all you smell, all that is happening in this place. You can make bullet points, write a couple of paragraphs, even sketch the place. But you must look closely, every detail, feel the place, touch the place: know it. And then ask yourself some questions: what might have happened here in the past, was it always like this – peaceful, beautiful, battered, shabby? Who has lived here, who will live here? Indeed, what sort of story lies beneath the surface of this place? Has it happened, or is it yet to happen?
4. Collect some post-cards of where you are. 1. Write to several special people in your life, tell them something extra-ordinary about the place that they didn’t know – but write as beautifully and as descriptively as you can – perhaps a poem? 2. Alternatively, write a series of one sided postcards from someone you’ve observed to someone imagined in their life and tell a story through the sequence of cards.
5. Find a beautiful, special spot. Close your eyes, listen to the world ebbing around you, drift away. What comes to your mind, what can you see, feel, hear, smell? Is there anything there – a poem, a feeling, a thread that you should note down and keep for later? Have your note-book with you, just in case.
6. Write that story/novel you’ve had half started for years. Put aside 1-2 hours a day and just do it. Don’t worry if it’s crap, just write it all down and when you’ve finished then you can make it a work of art.
7. Find a writing competition and make it your goal to complete a well crafted piece in time to enter (and win??). The holiday, no matter where you are, equipped with pen and paper, PC or Mac, is the space you need to have a go.
8. Take loads of photos and write funny/serious/true/fabricated snippets to go with them – so a photo-story – something a bit different to up-load to Facebook for your friends to wonder about – or for you to enjoy for years to come!
Is there something there for you? The holidays provide a nice space for our minds to relax, free themselves of the nonsense of work, so we can let our creativity and our imaginations back in. Do as much or as little as you want, but try and do something. Be the writer you believe you are, if only for this time of the year.