Sunday, April 12, 2009


Writing and Travelling

by LuAnn Schindler

LuAnn Schindler is on vacation this week.

What happens when a journalist is absent from the workplace? Either she completes her assignments ahead of time or she submits while on the road. In my case, I'm submitting while I'm on the road.

Today, I'm blogging for The Muffin from sunny San Diego. Luckily, my sister has a computer (although I'm suffering with a 56K dial-up connection). The clear blue skies and the awesome ocean view provide a fantastic backdrop for the creative juices.

Even though I've been here since Thursday, I've still written every day - mostly longhand - but it's important to maintain a writing routine of some kind, even while travelling or on vacation. You never know when something you witness or overhear will spark an idea. Like many of you, I keep a small notebook in my purse and add notes whenever something grabs my interest.

Yesterday, we visited historic Julian, California, an 1800s gold-mining town that's now famous for it's apple crops. While there, I got caught up with all the history, the layout of the town, and the swarm of visitors to this berg located in the mountains. I had my notebook out most of the afternoon. Ok, maybe I put it away while we were munching on local BBQ or during the wine tasting. Actually, I didn't. I took notes about every single thing that stood out to me, because as a journalist, I know at some point I will be able to use the information in an article or creative non-fiction project.

Yes, I'm on vacation this week, but the writing continues.

And when you are away from home - even for a weekend visit - the writing must go on.

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Monday, July 30, 2007


Got Attitude?

I’d like to think my writing evolves in spirit, soul, kindness, and wisdom as I age. Wouldn’t that be nice if it were that easy? Just age and improve like the often-clichéd fine wine!

But it’s just when I’m feeling a little smug that I fall back into the over-forty sticky web of complaining and nit-picking. I tease my 80-year-old mom that she’s always complaining (and she knows she does it and chastises herself for it). But why do I do it? It certainly doesn’t help my writing. Who wants to read someone complaining about a stress-invoking vacation or kids’ arguments? I mean, at least I have a place to vacation and kids who are capable of arguing. Plus, for the first time in twenty years of marriage, we’re actually going on our second vacation in the same year. Whoa! That should make me smile.

Maybe my attitude needs readjustments. Well, not maybe, but definitely. I’m losing grip with my gratitude-attitude. I need to make sure my vacation resets my outlook. What about you?

We Americans don’t take enough time off. But it’s really foolish. Vacations can be anything or anywhere that take us away from our normal, daily grind, whether we work from home at a job, as a mother, as a writer, or in an office elsewhere. No matter the time involved, either; work will always be there when we return.

While you’re reading this, I’m vacationing in South Lake Tahoe, California, tent camping with about a hundred of my husband’s relatives. The vacation gathering is for a family reunion that happens only every five years. I should be grateful to get away and join a crowd of happy campers! The funny side note is that my husband asked me to bring my laptop along, so he’d have a partner-in-crime, a person to dash away with from the campground, lakeside, and boats, to find a Wi-fi coffee shop from where he could stay linked to his career stresses.

I must confess, I did think about it. But my final response was, “no, I’m not taking my laptop along; that would go against the grain of balance, and you shouldn’t bring yours along either.” But he’s rarely lived a day without his cell phone, gadgets, or laptop near his body, as if it’s a lifeline.

Why do we tend to do this? Too much work and not enough play forces hard-working people to weave nasty webs of complaints, negative thoughts, and ungrateful feelings. I don’t want to be this way. It doesn’t improve my writing.

What is a lifeline for your writing or your attitude? Do notice when you complain too much? Do you notice when the smallest parts of life that should bring you pleasure, instead leave you feeling down or knotted up? Do you need to get away?

I intend to return from camping with fresh ideas for stories for children and teens; maybe I’ll steal away a few moments in the tent with a pen and pad and actually “write away my sticky web of complaints” while smelling the pine trees, the dry earth, campfire and soot. S’mores, roasted marshmallows, and trail mix sound so different and delicious, along with some fattening hot dogs, beans, and all foods other than spinach salads and light dishes.

When was the last time you took time away? Even only a weekend? You deserve to at least pencil it in on your calendar. But don’t take your gadgets for work. Take only your attitude. If you find yourself laughing at this in an ironic sense, as if there’s no possible way to take time off, then you should write off your stress in some fashion.

Please let us know about your writing lifelines, lack of vacations, or actual vacations. If you take plenty of vacations, instead, then we could live vicariously through you! Or tell us how you manage to keep a grateful outlook in life.

The bottom line is that we want you, your Blogs, your words, your attitude! Speak Out is every Friday here at WOW! Don’t hesitate.

Sue ;-)

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