Going Away to Write, Are You?

I’ve long been infatuated with the idea of going away to write. You know, that cliche cafe in Paris, the cabin in the woods, the beach house with no obstructions between your window and the heavenly horizon. Just you and the blank page.

Well. This weekend I went away and had big plans to write. Three thousand words a day! I said. A large bite of that manuscript I’ve been toiling away on will be KNOCKED OUT.

It didn’t work out that way.

Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, the reason it didn’t work out is that the two notions–going away, and writing–are incompatible.

The entire idea of going away to write: it’s a foolish romantic notion, a fairy tale, a myth. It’s the same starving artist routine regurgitated in a familiar format.

Intertwining the notion of vacation and work, are you mad? Writing is not a vacation. It is work. It is sitting down every day and facing your demons.

It is complex, creative, long, trying, messy, physically uncomfortable, mentally draining, difficult fucking work.

Decouple the notion of going on a writing retreat with the recuperative energy of a holiday. You may get work done on a writing trip but don’t set yourself up for disappointment by thinking it’s going to be restful and easy and fun.

It may be fun as hell but writing is work and anyone who convinced you otherwise is a goddamn liar.

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