I`m currently in an apartment on Miljet, a beautiful little island just off the coast of Croatia. This is the second week of a fantastic holiday that`s taken me from Sarajevo, through Mostar, down to Dubrovnik and finally here. So the question is — what effect does all that relaxation and enjoyment have on your writing?
When packing, I`m never sure what to bring. I usually take along at least one draft of something so I can do some editing on planes, trains or buses (an annoying layover in Lisbon for one day last year meant I managed the manuscript of a whole novel). But beyond scribbling in the margins of already created worlds, I never seem to be able to invent something new.
This holiday was no exception. Yesterday I went swimming and snorkeling in Odysseus` cave (my first ever sighting of a parrot fish!) and I`ve spent time strolling through the unreal splendour of Dubrovnik`s Old Town. Surely, I thought, at some moment, all of this culture and experience will find its way out through my fingers and into some brilliant sentences.
It doesn’t appear to be the case. While I like to take down some notes on the holiday, it`s usually little details I worry I`d forget, like the two-note traditional instrument outside the fountain that made our whole excursion feel like we were in a thriller. Photos won’t remind me of these things. Surely these are the best things to be writing: the making of memories, not the creation of new things, not yet.
I`m happy to take a step back. Everyone needs a period of absorption, of reflection and relaxation. I`ve decided not to fret in these last few days, and be like the rather pretty yellow sponges I saw in a saltwater lake on Saturday.
In fact, just this morning I was woken up by an alternative way of telling the story of an idea that`s been bugging me for nearly two years. Who knows, maybe something great is waiting on the other side.
How do your holiday writing experiences compare to mine? Let me know in the comments.