What to Do on a Writing Vacation

I'm in a weird sort of place at the moment writing-wise. The plan was I would finish the 1st draft of my next book, Magisterium, give it to a few trusted readers and then rewrite for about a month or so before I handed it in to Scholastic.


Well, one of those readers was my indefatigable agent Sara Crowe and within a week of sending it to her, she read it and said we should skip that month of re-writing and send it to them right now. (Guess she liked it!)


Where does that leave me? Mostly being not quite sure what to do with myself. Edits on Eleventh Plague are done. Can't really rewrite Magisterium until I get Scholastic's notes. Can't really start  on what I think will be the sequel to Magisterium until I know if Scholastic wants it.

So, I guess what we have here is a bit of a writing vacation! This is great because, and maybe this sounds odd, but I think periods of not writing are key ingredients to good writing. These are moments to rest, relax and above all, refuel before setting off again.

For me the refueling part largely comes down to consuming lots and lots of stories and doing my utmost to not think about my own. At the moment I'm...


Reading as much and as widely as possible. Just finished The Chosen One, Tina Fey's Bossypants and A Visit from the Goon Squad. Just started Old Man's War. I do my best to read in as many genres as possible splitting my time roughly in half between adult and YA.


Watching well written TV shows. Just finished re-watching Twin Peaks (Well, until the point where it goes completely off the rails) and I'm now making my way through the box set of Homicide: Life on the Street. Also finding time to keep up with great comedies like Parks and Recreation, Modern Family and Community.

Seeing some theatre. I'm seeing Tony Kushner's new play (The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures)  this weekend and Derek Jacoby in King Lear later this month! Also hoping to catch Robin Williams in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

Honestly I'm not sure how long the vacation will last, mostly cause I get more than a little crabby after 2 weeks or so of not writing, and I do have another little idea percolating away, but I promise to enjoy it while I can!

What about you guys? What do you do to refuel between one project and another?




Jeff Hirsch
The Eleventh Plague
Coming from Scholastic, September 1, 2011


Find me at jeff-hirsch.com 

4 comments:

Nichole Giles said...

When I take a writing vacation, I spend it focusing on my family. I have three and a half teenagers, and they're about all the fodder I need for new ideas and material. Plus, by the time I finish a manuscript, they haven't seen much of me for a while so it's time to make up for that.

Also, I read and see movies, like you.

Tere Kirkland said...

I usually catch up on my reading, but sometimes the allure of the Shiny New Idea is too much to resist. I don't usually do any writing at this stage, so technically it's still a writing vacation, but I like to flesh out ideas and daydream about characters and scenes.

Have fun!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, I'm taking a writing vacation right now too. I'm just trying to keep my head above water, and clearing my schedule for when I know my edits will be here.

I do read as well. Watch a lot of TV. Actually go outside...

Alex said...

I love the little work vacations I get, so I can emphasise with your, I think. But, personally, I'm a bit of a workaholic and like to get back to it after a while.

I saw Derek Jacobi in King Lear a few months ago. It was absolutely brilliant to watch and (though I don't *actually* know you) I'm sure you'll love it. It's a tad bloody, but you'll expect that.