Two weeks. That’s my vacation time every summer. Two glorious weeks free of work and calls and stress…Just kidding. That never happens.

My Typical Vacation Day


Wake up late-ish. Eat breakfast.

Try really, really hard not to look at email on my phone.

Have the same endless Groundhog’s Day discussion with my family of “what to do today” and “where to eat.”working vacation.jpg


Glance at my phone and notice 55 unread emails. Rationalize I’m doing myself a favor if I just flip through them. It will be so much less to deal with when I get back to work.

Put down the phone, go out on an excursion after our family finally breaks free of the Groundhog’s Day conversation. Let’s say, paddle boarding.


Notice a conference call reminder pop up on my phone. (I marked all meetings as “tentative” because I’m on vacation but still want to know what’s going on.)

Turn to writing for a distraction.

Finally, unable to take it anymore, scroll through emails and begin shooting off responses to co-workers who shoot back things like, “We’ve got this covered. Stop checking email!”

Wonder how they can stand working with me because I’m nuts!

Finally, pick up a book and read myself to sleep.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Why Can’t I Just Relax, Like Frankie?

friends frankie says relax

I tell myself I’m not built to relax. The more I do, the more I achieve. That’s my philosophy. It’s a simple case of inertia, really. This confounds many people since I also tend toward the introverted side. But, I’m about to break open a stereotype, not all introverts want to just curl up and hide in a corner of our house. Many of us actually like getting out! We just need time to decompress afterwards.

For me, sitting around all day feels as if I’m missing out on life. (I guess I have a seriously severe case of FOMO.) In reality, getting out in the world gives me ideas and exposes me to new, exciting things. And I like that. I hate stagnating.

But, I do wonder, if I took the time to just sit and think, would I still be up all night planning my next book or following the labyrinthine path of my thoughts through topics ranging from political outrage to my dog’s next haircut? If I gave myself time to do this during the day, would I actually sleep?

My Vacation Goals (and the Likelihood I’ll Achieve Them)

I don’t know if I’ll ever figure out the answer. In the meantime, I’ve decided to embrace my madness and set some goals for myself over my two week summer vacation. I’ve also rated the likelihood I’ll achieve these goals on a scale of one to ten. One being NO WAY and ten being DEFINITELY DOABLE.

I’ve identified 8 goals because 8 is my lucky number.

Goal #1: Try to read at least 6 books on vacation (3 a week)


Rating: 8

I think this is doable. Even if I can’t manage to stay away from my emails, I do have more time. Plus, I’ll have various plane trips and car rides during vacation. Prime time for getting reading done with the benefit of email being very spotty, particular when on an airplane.

Goal #2: Visit a minimum of 3 bookstores I haven’t been to before

Rating: 7

We plan to visit at least two major cities while on vacation, one of which is flush with bookstores I’ve never been to. In addition, we’ll be at home for a while during the vacation and there must be some indie bookstore in Northern Virginia, Washington, DC or Maryland I haven’t discovered yet. Challenge accepted!

the strand

Goal #3: Try not to add more books to my TBR than I will read on vacation

Rating: 3

This really should probably be zero. The chances I won’t buy at least two books every time I set foot in a bookstore is unlikely. I’m not the best at math, but it doesn’t look like the odds are in my favor here.

Goal #4 – Send out queries

Rating: 9

Having had some interest in my recent Twitter pitches, I plan to refine my queries, after doing sufficient research on the potential agents/publishers who showed interest, and send out at least two. Unless some catastrophic event happens, this is pretty likely. I’m not a procrastinator. When I set my mind to do something, I do it.

maine travelersGoal #5: Finish editing Travelers II and get it to my last editor for review

Rating: 8

I think I’ll do this. My goal is to do a final edit and get the sequel to my debut novel to my last editor before I send it over to the publisher for consideration. I want to get this done. In October, it will be two years since I published my first novel. I want this one out before year two us up…or at least close to that mark.

Goal #6: Work on a new manuscript

Rating: 5

At least once a day I’ll send myself an email that says in the subject line: New book idea! But if I started a book for every idea, I’d never get anywhere.


However, I have a primordial new manuscript in the works and I’m really excited about it. However, in order to get books published, you need to not only finish writing them, you need to pitch them. This requires research and Twitter pitches and time time time! Leaving less and less time to work on new material. I’m hoping during vacation I can scratch this new book writing itch.

Goal #7: For one half-hour each day, do NOTHING. Seriously, nothing. Just sit and think. Or don’t think. Just be.

Rating: 2

I really plan to try, but have little faith in my ability to do this. Still, as I said before, if I set my mind to something, I do usually achieve it (or fail trying). Maybe I can put my stubborn nature to work in a beneficial way and force myself to relax.

Goal 8: Enjoy time with my family

Rating: 10


It seems silly that I would have to set this as a goal. But, as evidenced by the above, I can get very caught up in my world of work and writing and books. Sometimes my family suffers for my focused determination. Vacation is a time for me to spend actual quality time with them. Plus I have a feeling I’ll hear the whining words “Daaaaad. You’re so annoying!” and play the game “would you rather” enough to make me rethink the definition of quality time.

OK, so tell me, does anyone else set vacation goals or am I just really, really nuts? Or if you have tips for how to actually relax on vacation, I’ll take them!!