turning off and tuning in

One of the great things about being a writer is that my office is wherever I happen to be. There’s no dress code, no specific work hours, no boss breathing over my desk, no time clock to punch and plenty of snacks when I want ’em. I get to interview lots of interesting people for research, and it’s amazing how many doors will open for the statement, "Hi, I’m an author, and I’d love to ask you a few questions."

There’s also no one to tell me to stop working, take a break, go have fun, be with my family.

It’s hard, sometimes, to turn off the writer-within. The person who listens to the trivia around, listens for the little factoids that are a boon, meets new people and sees potential characters. But it’s critical to do so, especially with family.

Turning off the hyper-focused writer, and just… being. Not carrying around all of the stories, the characters lives, their joys, loves, consequences, heart-breaks, laughter.

So I’m… well, vacationing. I’m in beautiful Colorado (in the snow) and having a wonderful time watching major events in my family’s life.

I still have a hard time turning off the writer within. How about you? How do you set aside work (no matter how much joy it brings, no matter what your employment)? Give me some tips, because I just saw about six people I want to immediately go sit down and describe for future characters.

8 thoughts on “turning off and tuning in

  1. pari

    Go ahead and collect those people, Toni. Just jot down a few sentences so that you remember them.

    Then, you’ll be able to focus on the here and now of your family.

    Enjoy the vacation.

    I wish New Mexico had gotten more of that Colorado snow with this last storm; we got rain.

    Out here — water is water is water.

  2. Fiona

    I do this, too. Family vacations, grocery shopping, even waiting to see the dentist are all character-gathering experiences.

    Give yourself half an hour, twice a day, to write character sketches when you’re on vacation. That’s just two short breaks during your day.

    You won’t be sorry you did it.

  3. JT Ellison

    I do my best to turn it off when I’m with my husband or family. Not always successful though. I can walk away as long as I’ve made the reference, usually by calling my answering machine and leaving a detailed description. The cat gets quite the education during my times away ; )

    Tell my state hi!

  4. RJ Mangahas

    My situation is a little interesting. My girlfriend is also a writer, (and artist and cartoonist) so this makes it even harder to turn off that inner writer. But ultimately, is it really THAT bad to let it run a little wild? Okay, maybe sometimes it can be.


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