Monday, July 12, 2010

Holidays - A Change Is As Good As A Rest!

It's that time of year when people are getting ready for their holidays, so I just wanted to remind you that there's no such thing as a holiday for a writer. However, it isn't all doom and gloom, because as the cliche goes, a change is as good as a rest, so a change of scene, may re-invigorate your writing!

Here's how:

  • Browse the local newsagents. It may be smaller than your local, or larger than the one you have at home, but it may stock different magazines you haven't seen before. It only takes ten minutes, but it could introduce you to new markets.
  • Buy the local magazines too. You don't have to be a local to write for the local county magazine. Something you do on holiday could be turned into an interesting piece for the local county magazine. As long as it is appropriate for the local readership, it doesn't matter where the writer lives.
  • Takes lots of holiday snaps! You never know, they may prove useful for your articles. And also, holiday snaps can be great research tools too. Take pictures of any plaques or information panels. You can read them later on your computer.
  • Buy any local history books. They can provide useful background research.
  • Place names can provide some great character names!  In the Lake District there's a small hill (ironically!) called Tom Heights. Perhaps he's a window cleaner? What if Tom Heights was afraid of heights (high altitudes, not other members of his family!)? In Shropshire, there's a village called Leebotwood. Whenever I drive through it, I imagine a classroom teacher shouting across a playground full of eight-year-olds, "Lee Botwood stop throwing stones and go and stand by the wall this minute!" Buy the local map and peruse it for interesting character names.  
  • Don't forget to eavesdrop. Go and sit at a beach-side cafe or village pub overlooking the village green. Enjoy a local delicacy, and savour the local chit-chat. You never know what overheard comments may inspire you. (I over heard a couple of weeks ago at a Norfolk cafe, "Of course, we had to throw his third leg away!" (Well, I'm confused, are you?)
  • Why not take an old story that hasn't quite worked and relocate it to where you're staying on holiday? What impact would that have on your characters? How may it change the story?
So if you have a holiday coming up in the next few weeks, don't think of it as time off. Think of it as an opportunity to reinvigorate your writing!

Good luck!