I Took a Vacation

It’s the same each year. I’m going along at a good pace for writing, making progress on various projects, and have numerous story ideas. I can’t wait to finish one project and begin a new one. I live breathe, and think about writing—even in my sleep.

And then it happens. Call it writer’s block, mental exhaustion, or perhaps it just coincides with summer, but the enthusiasm for writing is gone. I struggle to think of ideas or to transfer the ones in my head to the computer. I don’t want to think about writing, let alone write. In fact this year there were a few times when I wondered if I even wanted to be a writer.

So, what did I do? I took a vacation.

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial

To be honest, my husband and I planned this trip several months ago. We made Virginia our home base, staying in the home of relatives. We had our own personal tour guide of Washington, DC. We both love history and were excited to see many historical sights.

Ford's Theater

Ford’s Theater

In DC, we visited the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II, Vietnam, and Korean War Memorials. We went to Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial. We also went to Ford’s Theater and saw the place where John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln.

The Battlefield at Gettysburg

The Battlefield at Gettysburg

We made an overnight trip to Gettysburg, PA where we toured the Gettysburg Battlefield. (We also visited Manassas, Virginia, sight of the 1st and 2nd Battles of Bull Run.)

Lancaster County, PA

Lancaster County, PA

While in Pennsylvania, we visited the Amish Country in Lancaster County. I can’t help but admire these people for their simple lifestyles, although I do enjoy the conveniences of twenty-first century life.

We toured several of the Smithsonian Museums including Natural History, American History, Air and Space, as well as the hanger at Dulles Airport. Among the items we saw were Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, a life vest from the Titanic, the Hope Diamond, and the Star Spangled Banner. At the National Archives we saw the original Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. We also visited the Holocaust Museum, which was very sobering.

The Space Shuttle, Discovery

The Space Shuttle Discovery

We spent a lot of time at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. One of the highlights for me was seeing the now retired space shuttle, Discovery. We saw many historical planes including Chuck Yeager’s Bell X1, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, an Air France Concorde (I always wanted to fly on one), and The Wright Brother’s plane. Apollo 11 was also on display as well as John Glenn’s Mercury spacecraft.

Including our home state of Texas, we visited or passed through eight states in eleven days and traveled almost 3500 miles. Needless to say we returned home, I was physically exhausted!

It’s taken a few weeks to recover from our travels, but life has settled back into a routine. And yes, I’m writing again.

What about you? Have you taken a vacation this summer? Do you have plans for any family activities? Please share in the comments.

  • Irene Aprile

    Sometimes a break is what it takes to regain focus. There are times when the thought of writing is exhausting for me too, but I tried not to write and I can’t. After a while I’m back to the keyboard (or paper and pen). At present I try to use every free moment for writing or translating, but I’m going to have a two weeks vacation in August. Andrea and I are going to the US and I don’t think I’ll be writing much, maybe only on the plane. Nonetheless I bought a brand new notebook to bring with me (writer through and through).

    • Irene, it took a while, but I’m glad to be writing again. And the vacation was just what I needed.

      Wish I could see you while you are here in the US, but perhaps another time. I think you’ll enjoy seeing the cities you’ve selected to visit.

      And yes, bring that notebook. You never know where or when you’ll come up with a story idea!

  • Michele Jones

    I think we all experience that writers block in some way. There are days, that I just sit in front of the keyboard and nothing happens. I may only get a paragraph, or a character description. That’s when I take a writing vacation. I go out and take pictures, or I go to one of the many museums nearby. Sometimes it just a night out with friends. Glad you are writing again.

    • Michele, photography also helps me when I have writers block. Just getting out in nature helps. I’m toying with an idea using photographs for a writing project. It’s in the planning stages and will be a few months away, but we’ll see what transpires.

  • Julie

    Looks like a wonderful, relaxing vacation! I hope you are feeling refreshed & renewed 🙂 glad youre writing again!

    • Julie, it was so much fun. Having relatives near DC was nice. Not only did we enjoy seeing them, they knew all the the places to go. The long drive was tiring, but I love road trips and seeing new places.

      And I’m glad to be writing again, also. Even took something to writer’s group on Monday!

  • I envy you, Joan. Looks like a great trip!

    • Staci, we had so much fun. I’ve probably never walked so much in my life as we did in DC!

      Kind of ironic, that I visited your home state the same time you were in mine. (And traveled through your current state.) 🙂

      • I’m confident our paths will cross eventually in person. Until then…

  • Sounds like you had a great trip! I know what you mean about trying to get back to writing. I went to western North Carolina for a much-needed break to see my daughter for several days. I’m hoping to get back into my routine and start writing again this week.

    • Catherine, somehow I always need a vacation from my vacation! I think the only instance was when we took a cruise to Alaska. I didn’t have to do anything. No driving, worries over where we would stop for the night, eat meals, etc. I was probably more relaxed on that trip than any before or since.

      It took me a while to get back in the swing of writing this time, but it feels good to be back.

  • kathunsworth

    Joan sounded like a great holiday with lots of wonderful things to do and see. Just what you needed to get the writing vibe back. We are taking a winter holiday soon where my daughter gets to play her recorder with her school mates at the Opera House and then some time up the coast with Grandparents. We all need those breaks to boost inspiration don’t we? Happy writing to you.

    • The Opera House in Sidney? That’s wonderful. Hope you have a wonderful time. And yes, the breaks are great to get the creative juices flowing again.