You’ll be taking your holiday soon. You’ll be heading off somewhere nice. Possibly abroad. Two weeks of sights, sea, sun, sangria – and certainly no writing. Those fingers need a rest, right?
But does that mean you ought to ‘switch off’ entirely?
If you’re planning on writing about your holiday – and you can find some advice about that at Mistake No. 52 – then obviously not. You’ll need your notebook and your camera.
But what if you need a complete break from the 9-9? What if you want to enjoy yourself, spend time with friends and family – or quite possibly on your own – and not fret about the work piling up back home, or the idea of sending material to editors to try to sell enough work to actually pay for the vacation you’ll be enjoying?
Then do it.
Well … do it for the most part. For there is one opportunity so precious when you’re in the business of writing and you are holidaying abroad, that I feel it is simply too good to ignore.
Overseas magazines. Buy some. Buy many. As many as your partner / rucksack / car boot / hand luggage / baggage handler will allow.
Back in Mistake No. 36 I first confessed on this blog to, let’s call it, finding inspiration from Italian magazines. I’m a health writer, so it’s health magazines for me when I’m there, and not only do I enjoy reading them and learning from them, but invariably I find myself coming up with ideas thanks to them too.
You don’t need to be fluent in the country’s language. You can pick up the gist of ideas from titles, sells and intros, perhaps with the aid of a dictionary. Just seeing how different overseas magazines are to the British or American publications you’re more used to can give you inspiration – even just looking at the pictures and adverts is enough to get your mind spontaneously idea-generating.
For me, it’s usually a straightforward case of adapting a good idea to fit a particular market back home – and ‘Britifying’ it. But on one memorable occasion I completely misunderstood the theme and idea of an article I’d briefly scanned in a French magazine, about first-thing-in-the-morning sex, and yet that miscomprehension turned into an idea which I sold to Natural Health Magazine in the UK on how to best wake-up from sleep and start your day healthily (it was actually the picture that initially misled me – as it was surprisingly innocent given the subject matter! – but it resulted in a sale, which is all that matters).
If all this sounds like work when you shouldn’t be doing work, then of course, don’t open the magazines and file them away for you to read when you’re back at your desk. But do consider spending say 10 or 20 Euros on a clutch of magazines in your specialism. It takes just ten minutes. Even one sale off the back of that outlay is well worth it. You’ll easily pay off that sangria bill that somehow got a bit out of hand …