Writers Need Vacations Too

Michelle Rafter
Tierra del Mar beach, May 2024. Photo: Michelle Rafter.

All work and no play doesn’t just make Jack a dull boy. It makes Jack or Jill Freelancer a dull writer.

Hard as it is to get away when you run your own business, it’s important to take time off to recharge mentally and physically.

With summer fast approaching, it’s time to plan how you’re going to take advantage of it. If you need more convincing, here are my top 10 reasons why writers need vacations:

1. Constantly pitching, reporting, researching, and writing can become a grind. Time away can revive the pleasure you get from what you do.

2. Stepping away from day-to-day tasks can provide perspective on the status of your writing business. Use the downtime to determine if you like where it’s heading or want to steer it in a different direction.

3. The change of pace or scenery a vacation offers can lead to story ideas. In fact, ASJA is hosting a webinar on this very topic, “Turn Your Vacation Into Freelance Gold,” on June 12 from 2 to 3 pm Eastern time. Find out more and register here.

4. You’ll get the chance to finish – or start – the books that have been piling up on your nightstand or in your Audible queue, and they could lead to story ideas, too.

5. You work hard week in and week out. Shouldn’t you reward yourself every once in a while for your labors? If traveling somewhere isn’t in your budget, even a long weekend staycation can feel like a getaway.

6. Writing can be a very sedentary occupation. Some extra physical activity will do your body good.

7. Call it Murphy’s law of freelancing – inevitably, the big call back, project or email you’ve been waiting for will arrive while you’re gone. I went out of town for six days earlier this month and three new assignments landed in my inbox while I was away, including one from out of the blue. So what are you waiting for, get lost – but bring your laptop, iPad, or phone if you feel like you need to.

8. Speaking of laptops, if you really have to, you can always go on vacation and bring it with you to sneak in a little work.

9. You owe it to the people in your life to step away from the keyboard every once in a while to do more than throw in another load of laundry, make dinner, or drive somebody to baseball or dance practice.

10. The world’s pretty cool and you’re not getting any younger.

Michelle Rafter is a ghostwriter and ASJA member in Portland, Oregon. She is ASJA’s publications chair, on the 2024-2025 conference planning committee, and ran the organization’s 2023 virtual annual conference. A version of this post originally appeared on her WordCount blog.