We recently went on a fantastic holiday to Australia, specifically the Sunshine Coast, which, as the name suggests, was rather sunny. I thought about it long and hard, and in the end, decided not to take my laptop, and did no writing for the 10 days that we were away.
It was a big call for me, I'm a big proponent of the whole “write every day” rule, and I've seen my word counts grow exponentially because of this habit. Not only that, I'm far more into my stories, and I think overall the novels flow better if you make the commitment to do it every day.
However, the reason I decided to break that rule was another of my favourite theories, that sometimes you need to take a complete break from what you're doing, to recharge and reload. It will make you come back stronger and more focused than ever.
I'm glad to say that I did feel like that after a week of visiting beaches (just to walk on, I'm not going in those shark- crocodile- jellyfish- and stingray-infested waters), and doing the rounds of all the tourist destinations (the ginger factory, the macadamia nut shops and best of all the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where we cuddled a koala and fed the kangaroos by hand), I did feel rested and relaxed – and also inspired and excited to get back to work.
I got to laugh at my husband as he attempted to save the biggest jellyfish I have ever seen (I swear it was at least two feet across) on a beach somewhere down the coast. I'm not insensitive to the needs of sea creatures. But it was dead. And he was trying to dig a channel out to sea for it. He kept yelling “It's just like Project Jonah!” which I'm guessing is some kind of whale rescue organisation.
I saw platypuses, koala (did you know they refuse to eat anything but eucalyptus leaves, which gives them so little energy that they basically lie about all day high up in trees, and hope that predators don't get to them?) and kangaroos, as well as Tasmanian Devils (they look like giant rats, and if I'd been one of those enforced colonial settlers – who stole a loaf of bread and was deported to Australia without a by-your-leave – I would have been freaking out, wondering what else this horrible place had in giant size), massive crocodiles, kookaburras, and and a whole bunch of lizards that seemed to be roaming free everywhere.
We learned about jellyfish, sharks and turtles at the Sea Life Aquarium, and watched them feeding the crocodiles at the Australia Zoo. We swam, ate, and drove along the coast in the wonderfully warm weather (the locals told us it was still a bit cold, and they were wearing their winter woolies. They were clearly nuts). In all we saw all sorts of new creatures, and experienced new adventures, and the creative juices were flowing with new ideas and storylines.
The whole point is that I came back home after a holiday with my family ready to get back into the writing again, charged and ready to go.
I'm almost finished the novella about Tilly, who made a brief appearance in the second book, and turns out to be pretty important to the overarching storyline of the Carnival. And I'm about a third of the way through the third book in the series, about Missy and Zeph (Rilla's brother). I'm loving the writing, and loving the inspiration.
So thanks Australia, for making me take a break. It was worth it!