How to have a good holiday

May 19th, 2018

I’ve always been fairly bad at holidays–the ones where I go away, that is. I’m good at the ones where I stay at home and read lots of books and do lots of gardening. But going away has always been a problem, mainly because I get bored. Even in a really spectacular place, there’s a limit to how much sightseeing a person can do. (And New Zealand is spectacular.)

But I think I’ve discovered the trick, for me at least.

1. Take some writing with me. Not the book I’m working on currently, because that wouldn’t be a holiday, but something new. Something that’s been niggling at me for a while, and that I can play with when I need a bit of grounding. Because that’s what writing does – it grounds me. As a friend said, you’re at home in the world when you’re writing, no matter where you are.

2. Run a couple of workshops while I’m away. This gives the trip a bit of focus, and also gives me the chance to meet the local children and teachers, and see how they do things. I ran two lots of workshops in New Zealand. In Christchurch, I worked with a group of Year 7s on building their own fantasy worlds. That was fun. And in Queenstown, I worked with three different classes of Year 5s, doing the Imagination Olympics.

The Imagination Olympics is now one of my favourite workshops. It has teams, frantic competition for points, maps, a whistle (because I’m the umpire), brainstorming, and gold medals for the winning team. It is HUGE fun, and the three different classes really enjoyed it.

And then I came home to find that my niece, who was house-and-Harry sitting while I was away, had crocheted me a pair of mittens, and woven a basket from the coloured rope that washes up on the beach. Beautiful, yes?

So I’m feeling very relaxed, which is just as well because now I need to get stuck back into the third book in the Rogues trilogy. Tomorrow I’ll read through what I’ve written so far and start getting my head back into the world of Duckling and Pummel.

What am I reading (apart from my own writing)?

Squire, the third book in Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small quartet. This series is so gorgeous, as the main character, Kel, continues in her determination to be a knight, despite the many people who want to stop her.


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