Off the Writing Grid: What I learned in two weeks away
Off the Grid
Being off the writing grid for two weeks was a foreign concept to me. I could not see myself traveling in Europe with minimal access to the internet, no laptop, and not enough time to think about writing. But that is just what I did and I learned a lot.
My friend Aurelien was getting married in France during one of the busiest times of year for me. Regardless of how busy I am, my priorities have always been my family and friends. I was going to take two weeks off to travel to France for the wedding and to Germany to visit friends and relatives.
Why not write?
I know what you are saying:
"You can write when you travel. People do it all the time."
"You can bring a laptop, tablet, phone, and even pen and paper!"
I completely agree with all lines of thought about writing when you can regardless of where you are. The difference here is that I have a wife that balances me. The deal was that I had to make this a real vacation. No work, no writing, no email, and no Facebook. I hesitantly agreed, knowing that she was usually right about these things.
The first couple days were difficult. I worried about all the projects that I have going on and what I should be doing with my time. I made lists in my head with priorities and how I can get things done when I get back. It was exhausting to worry so much about something that I was not able to control at the time.
About the third day, my mind shifted focus. I stopped worrying and started to think about the things that I will be seeing on the trip.
- Mont-Saint-Michel - one of the most beautiful sites in the world. An abbey built on an island that has a small city surrounding it.
- Normandy - The history and significance surrounding Omaha beach and D-Day is fascinating.
- Sacre-Coeur - One of the most stunning churches overlooking the city of Paris.
- The Eiffel Tower - Amazing construction and breath-taking views.
- Driving on the Nürburgring - The absolute bucket list item for any car enthusiast.Driving on the Autobahn in Germany.
- Visiting small towns, meeting people, and enjoying great food.
I quickly started to realize that life is about experiencing these activities. My time should be spent looking forward to and being excited about what is to come. I should not be worrying about what needs to be done or what I should be doing.
Once I let go, something incredible happened. My imagination and creative mind opened up.
I had so many ideas coming to the surface just from the experiences I was having. I was able to fix some plots I was struggling with. And I was able to make a breakthrough on a business venture that I am working on.
We all get wrapped up in goals and pushing to write a book. I think that is good in some ways, but once we get stuck in this mode we forget to step back. Taking the time to spend with your friends and family is not being counter-productive. It is a way to be more efficient when you do sit down to write. You will find answers, ideas, and inspiration all around you. You just have to step away from the computer long enough to enjoy them.
My vacation was amazing. I was able to relax and focus on having fun. That has cleared my head, lowered my stress, and refreshed me to take on the challenges ahead with much more heart. Consider stepping away for a little while. The results will surprise you.