On the road paved with good intentions

Whenever I travel for business I plan to write while I’m away. I’ll have time on my hands at the hotel without the distractions of home, I tell myself. I’ll crank out a serious word count and return home feeling extra productive.

It doesn’t happen that way. Ever.

What happens is that whatever work has prompted my travel consumes my brain. When I’m not with the client, I’m thinking nonstop about whatever we are working on or the next meeting, workshop, seminar. All of my creativity is channeled toward the client’s project and there’s nothing left for anything else.

At the end of each travel day I return to the hotel wanting to completely unplug and recharge so that I can do it all again the next day. Before I know it I am home again without so much as a single word counted toward the personal writing I’d planned. Worse yet, back at home I usually find myself drained and needing a serious recharge.

That’s what happened last week and I’m still working to recharge and get back on track creatively. But it doesn’t hurt that the walk I took to clear my head this morning offered this view…



6 thoughts on “On the road paved with good intentions

  1. This is so like me! I just went on a business trip a week ago, and while I had every intention in the world to work on my WIP, I ended up back home without a single word added to the document. I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this. 🙂

    • You are definitely not the only one, and I am equally glad to find that out! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I apologize for the late reply and wish that I could blame it on having written many words on my current project, but instead it was just work (the paycheck kind) related.

  2. How well I know the feeling! I’ve just spent some time away from home working extremely hard but filled with the same intentions, and as always have failed to do what I imagine myself doing when I set out on the trip. All my energy used up by the end of every day, the only thing I can do is to do what you did when you got home when you went for a walk with your camera. I did manage to do this while I was away, so at least I came home with a memory-card full of pictures somewhat like the one you posted – which is beautiful. And I’ve just written a post on the same subject myself.

    Hope you’re feeling re-charged and fully back on track creatively. I always enjoy your posts – thanks for this one.

    • Thank you so much for the comment and compliment! I am definitely re-charged but continued full speed ahead on multiple work and personal projects. Things are slowing down now work-wise and I’m hoping to use my energy to catch up on everything that I’ve neglected, like blogging.

  3. I think the expectations writers have of ourselves are driven by the widely accepted notion that writing isn’t something that requires work and concentration. After all, anyone who is literate can write, right? Anyone who writes better than the average person just has a gift — aren’t they lucky! — so they should just be able to plunk themselves down in the middle of anything and write, no matter what else is going on in their lives and their brains.

    It’s nonsense, of course. Some people may be born with more natural facility for language than others, just as some may be genetically endowed with muscle fibres that are more easily adapted to athletic pursuits. But developing that natural inclination takes work — lots and lots and lots of it. I don’t know any professional writer who can just sit down and spew out creativity any more than I know any elite athletes who got there after hours on business trips.

    One of the biggest reasons many writers have a hard time making a living at their craft is because we, ourselves, buy into this belief and undervalue our own work. We expect to be able to rip off hundreds or thousands of words off the sides of our desks while focusing primarily on our “real” work, or while the baby is napping (because raising a baby isn’t all that demanding, either, apparently). We feel inadequate if we can’t, and when people who want to publish our writing and *make money from it* offer to pay us pennies a page view for the privilege of appearing on their web page, we actually thank them!

    I have read your blog. You are a good writer. You can become a great writer by taking yourself seriously and working hard at it. But you also need to be kind to yourself. Recognize that just because anyone who is literate can write, that doesn’t make them a writer. Writing is a commitment. Writing is work. Writing is draining. Or, as a guy named Red Smith once said, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”

    Give yourself a break. You only have so many veins and so much blood in your body. Value it by setting aside time to when you can focus on and value your writing. Value yourself as a writer enough to do that, and others will come to value you, and your writing, too.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and advice! I have indeed been trying to be kinder to myself as the summer winds down. I have been lucky as a writer because I have at numerous times throughout my career made my living by writing. It started with photojournalism and freelance reporting when I was a teenager and continued through my publishing adventures, document control experience, and now consulting. The problem for me it seems is that when I write for a living, I neglect to make adequate time for the writing that makes me feel alive! I’m sure that is practical, since those bills do have to be paid, but at the end of my days I know that I will expect to have used my talent fully, and not just to keep food on the table and the air conditioning going.

      Again, thank you for your thoughtful comments!

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