Everyone dreams of a writer’s life. You book your trip to Seychelles. You pack your laptop and light beach clothes. Sunglasses and flip-flops are a must. You enjoy at least two months of vacation there since you can afford it. How can you afford it? Well, you’re working right there, on the beach. You’re making money while enjoying yourself.
Everything works so fine in our imagination, doesn’t it? But the reality is different. Surprise, surprise: I’m not writing this from the beach. I don’t know any writer who works from the beach. Sure; I know travelers and adventurers, but they are taking some time off work, so they can fully enjoy their trips. As for the writing process at the beach, here are five reasons why it didn’t work for me.
1. The Beach Environment Has a Destructive Power
I recently talked to my friend, Monique, who works as a writer for BestEssays. She just came home after spending two months in Ecuador, so I was eager to hear about her experience: “I didn’t get to do as much work as I planned to,” – she said. “It went well for the first week and I was living the writer’s dream. But you know what? The sand and sun ruined my laptop. So that was it; I had to take a break from work and convince myself to enjoy the trip as a full-time tourist.”
You love the heat and humidity, but your laptop doesn’t. So the next time you see a lovely photo of someone working on their laptop at the beach, remind yourself of this: that scene is not even close to reality!
If you do intend to work and travel, please do it in your room. You can wake up really early in the morning, do your writing, and enjoy the beach for the rest of the day.
2. What about the Bills?
When writing is your job, it has to pay the bills. In my case, I had an apartment back home, and the expenses were up to $1000 per month. I thought: I’ll save on electricity, so I’ll pay less. I packed my bags and went to explore Italy for a month. I still had to pay the bills back home, since you can’t really avoid rent. But I had other bills to pay: accommodation.
See? When you travel, you have gigantic expenses, and your writing business may not cover them all. You need savings, so you’ll be comfortable on your trip. If you plan to afford them while working, you should be ready for unpleasant surprises. Chances are, you’ll want to explore. You’ll be working less, and that means you’ll be earning less money. In my case, I wasn’t able to afford all expenses, so I was late with the rent.
Italian beaches didn’t even seem nice when I realized that.
3. It’s Not Really a Vacation
Let me tell you something about my vacation in Italy: it wasn’t a vacation. The thought that I had to work more to support the trip was incredibly burdening. I did not isolate myself from the screen. Time away from the screen… now that would be the ideal vacation for me.
When you use technology every day (and you surely do that when you’re a writer), it makes you tired. You need some time off. And you don’t get it when you intend to write at the beach. Wait; didn’t we just prove that writing from the beach was not a real possibility? Never mind. You get my point.
4. You’re Not Getting the Most Out of Your Trip
Let’s say you want to go to Cuba. It’s a lovely country. If you intend to work, you can stick to the schedule described above (write in the morning and explore for the rest of your day). However, writers can’t usually stick to a definite schedule. Inspiration comes and goes. Sometimes you’re inspired to write for an entire day.
So the chances that you’ll stay on that schedule are really slim. You’ll simply write and explore in sessions throughout the day, but guess what: you won’t be able to explore much. You will probably limit yourself to the hotel room and the beach. Cuba has too much to offer, but you won’t see anything.
5. If You’re Working for Clients, They Won’t Appreciate Your New Schedule
If you’re working on your next big novel, a trip may be exactly what you need. But if you’re tied with deadlines or you’re working with clients, you have specific instructions to follow and workload to complete. When you’re traveling, you lose a few days on transportation. If you’re flying to a different time zone, you’ll need a few more days to recover from the jet lag. Then, you’ll start working, but you’ll work less with the intention to see more of the place you visit.
Your clients won’t appreciate that. They need the work to be done, so they will probably hire another author to fill in. What if that author is better than you? What if you lose part of your workflow for good? Think about that!
You have the right to a vacation! No one denies that. However, your clients would expect you to take two weeks or a month off. If you head off to Cuba for two months, you can’t expect them to be happy for you.
So that’s why I’m not writing this from the beach. It’s a nice idea of a lifestyle and I tried it, but it didn’t go as planned. I write when I write, and I’m a tourist when I’m a tourist. Multitasking doesn’t really work for me, and most writers I know feel the same way about their write-and-travel adventures.
Warren Fowler is a marketing enthusiast and a blogger at Best Essays, who loves music. If he doesn’t have a guitar in his hands, he’s probably embracing new technologies and marketing techniques online! You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.