Writing, Umbrella Drinks, and Hawaiian Shirts: Time to Get Away

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“Vacation

All I ever wanted

Vacation

Time to Get Away”

That giddy, 1982 pop nugget by The Go-Go’s is like an earful of Technicolor sunshine and playful surf. Hear it on the radio and you can’t help but think of seaside boardwalks and funnel cake, of frivolous afternoons idled away in beach chairs and Agatha Christie paperbacks earmarked beside glasses of rum punch. As a freelance writer, when’s the last time you had a frivolous afternoon, let alone a vacation?

Attempting to balance work and play is a tightrope act for a freelancer, especially if you’re blog ghostwriting with a strict monetary quota that needs to be attained each month. “Well, honey, is it gonna’ be Bali or the bills? France or food?” Unless you’re living alone in a 100 sq ft rent controlled studio, making soup and gruel from a hot plate like a character out of a Russian novel, Bali and France might never enter the equation. And that’s a problem. Because Bali, France, a day at the beach or a trek in the mountains need to make it into the equation. For the sake of your sanity, unlock the ball and chain that has you tethered to the computer and desk… even if it’s only for a few hours, even if it’s only for a mental holiday.

If gallivanting around the capitols of Europe or island hopping in the Caribbean isn’t in the cards this year (or any), then it’s time to tap the wellspring of inner resources. You could:

A. Dig out the flip-flops, put on your favorite Hawaiian shirt, you know the one with the oversized Toucan on the front, gear up Jimmy Buffett’s A1A on the sound system, and crank the thermostat to 90. The flip side of this is that the artificially constructed Jamaican sun comes at a price; no, not a blistering sunburn, but an exorbitant heating bill.

B. Head over to The Olive Garden and gorge on the endless bread sticks and limp lettuce salad bar, all the while teleporting yourself to a sun-dappled piazza in Rome. “Scusa, averte grappa?” “No, sir. We have pink wine in a box.”

C. Get your groove on with a themed party. Host casino night, a New Wave dance party (Go-Go’s on the turntable), a tapas night, or turn your home into a cruise ship, complete with indoor kiddie pool, floor to ceiling Wi screen and makeshift rock climbing wall, which your kids, being astute builders of the modern blanket house, can create some rainy Sunday afternoon.

Once the guests start to arrive, remember to be courteous. When Jim and Anne from down the cul-de-sac start romanticizing the life of an independent contractor, citing the open-ended hours, days spent in pajamas, and the creature comforts of a home office, kindly remind them you have no paid sick time, holiday time or vacation time. However, grit your teeth and stay positive and tell them at least every day is casual Friday.

Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

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