What I Learned During my Blog-Free Vacation

“Okay, boys and girls, shut up and face the front of the room. Class is about to begin.”

imagesHIH1ZXY3

After a week’s vacation, it was our first day back to blogging at Saint WordPress Academy. The threatening demeanor of the much esteemed Sister squelched our high spirits, and sounds of happy laughter began to die out.   Any excitement we’d felt at being back at school quickly vanished as Sister MeanAsHeck stood in front of us, surveying the room and lightly slapping her infamous ruler against the palm of her hand.

Finally, she turned toward the blackboard and we watched silently as the good Sister wrote in big letters the theme for the day’s lesson: What I learned during my blog-free vacation.

She faced the class again. “Who wants to be first? I want a full report from each of you, ya little bundles of germs and pestilence.”

imagesMM1W72YR With almost lightning speed, hands shot up throughout the room as each of the little toadies volunteered to go first in an attempt to escape the good Sister’s wrath. Toadies or not, these kids were pretty damned smart because by not raising my hand, I stuck out like a sore thumb… or a devil among angels.

Sister immediately zeroed in on me. “You, Kate Loveton, you want to tell the class what you did during your blog-free holiday?”

“Well,” I stammered, “I sort of goofed off all week. I didn’t think about my blog once. I read my book, watched some TV… basically, I did nothing, Sister. Absolutely nothing.”

The much esteemed Sister looked at me, her face contorting in righteous anger.  If the good Sister hates anything, it’s sloth.  She began slapping the wooden ruler against her palm more rapidly, and I could see she yearned to trip me up. “Let me get this straight: you’re telling us, Kate Loveton, that all you did for an entire week was lay about – goldbricking?”

I slowly nodded, all the while keeping my eyes centered on that ruler. I calculated my chances of successfully making a grab for it and smacking Her Nastiness silly, but cooler wisdom (not to mention fear) prevailed. I was smart enough to realize that the gentle Sister would probably make mincemeat out of me.  The Good Lord, in His mighty and mysterious ways, hadn’t christened her Sister MeanAsHeck for nothing.

images730F4IXB“So you learned absolutely nothing during your blog-free vacation, you dreadful child,” she said, the disgust in her voice striking terror into my heart.  Inch by inch, I began to cautiously slip beneath the desk, fearful of her towering presence as she leaned over me.  I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, resigned to the sparks that would escape her nostrils any minute, and utterly  convinced I’d been convicted and sentenced to eternal hellfire for the crime of indolence.  With trepidation, I visualized my wardrobe for eternity; red had never been a good color for me.

“Don’t you know that idle hands are the devil’s workshop?”

“I wouldn’t say that I learned nothing!” I protested. “I learned stuff! I learned lots of stuff!”

She didn’t believe me, I could tell. It was time to do some fancy mental footwork or else that damned ruler would be coming my way… and maybe a taste of future brimstone.

“Well, Sister, it’s like this. About a week or so ago, I was feeling overwhelmed. Instead of enjoying my writing and my blogging, I was feeling it was a task. I was just tired.”

The good Sister continued to glare at me. I could see she wasn’t feeling a lot of sympathy for my plight.

“So I called up my best friend, that’s the girl in Room 4B down the hall… the one in Sister Lovely’s classroom.”

Sister Lovely and her ‘new fangled ways’ of doing things was a bone of contention with Sister MeanAsHeck, and I could see I’d just jumped right from the frying pan and into the fire.

imagesF9J7XRU7 (2)Hastily, I started to explain. “Anyway, my pal, Heather, suggested that maybe a mini break was needed. I have to say, Sister, she knew what she was talking about. It was cool to chew bubble gum, talk about cute boys, paint my toenails neon pink, and just experience a week with no ‘musts’ or ‘shoulds’ attached to it.”

“You still haven’t told us what you learned. Get to the point, kid – and spit out that gum!”

“The point is this, Sister. It’s not a sin to take a writing break occasionally. It’s not unforgivable to give your mind a rest, and just have fun – you know, read a book, go out for a long walk, actually take some time to talk to your family, and maybe watch a favorite TV show.

“For one week, I heard the sound of birdsong coming from the bushes next to our back porch instead of the clicking noise of keyboard strokes, a music that has somehow become the soundtrack to my life.

“I actually went to bed on time that week! I got eight hours of sleep every night instead of five.

“Instead of waking up like this images0ULMMM2T

“I woke up like this!” imagesFEBNBG7E

Sister said nothing, but I could see she was weakening. She believed in the virtue of a good night’s sleep. “Is that all you learned?”

“No… I learned something else, too. You see, Sister, I follow some pretty terrific people on WordPress, really talented, interesting people. I like reading their work and I like commenting on what they share. But sometimes all my class work gets in the way, and I can’t comment on their wonderful blogs as quickly as I like. Who knew 5th grade could be so hard?”

“Ever think of telling them that sometimes you might be a day or two late, but that you’ll catch up as quickly as you can?”

I grinned. No need for me to say anything – Sister Rocket Science just said it for me.

Straightening my spine, I sat up in my chair. My courage was returning and I faced the Sister head on.  “In the end, Sister, I guess I learned that sometimes a short break can recharge the batteries, that a person needs it in order to function, and that sometimes giving yourself a couple nights off from writing isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. I also learned that as wonderful as the bloggers I follow are, I can’t always get back to them immediately – but I will always endeavor to get caught up as quickly as I can.”

Sister immediately smiled and pulled out her big red pen. I wondered if she understood what I was saying or if her now restored good humor might be a trap.  She walked back to her desk, pulled out a piece of paper out and scribbled something on it. Then she turned around and headed right back to my desk. I waited for bad news, afraid what might be on that paper she held, but then she handed it to me. On the page was a large A+. imagesN5J03LE0

That’s when I realized that my blog-free vacation had been a success. I had learned some truths that might keep me from going over the edge during busy times, and I also learned that I need more in my life than writing. I need to take time to talk to those I love, to occasionally walk away from the laptop, and to take care of myself – physically and mentally.

If that ain’t learning some good stuff from your vacation, I don’t know what is.

Now, I just need to remember it…

Class dismissed!

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About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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50 Responses to What I Learned During my Blog-Free Vacation

  1. That was adorable. I enjoyed it a lot.

  2. The purrfect pic to end it with, K. Very cute and creative. We do need to commit the cardinal sin of stepping away at times. =)

  3. Julia Lund says:

    Good for you! Just come back from a similar break myself. Replenishing 🙂

  4. Jade Reyner says:

    This is my very first visit to your blog and what an amazing writer you are! I love this approach to blogging and the way that you weave your lesson into a story. Fantastic. Great stuff. 🙂

  5. I love this and learned a whole lot as I alway do from fellow bloggers!! I’m following you now!! Great work!

  6. eclecticalli says:

    Breaks are so important! Sometimes I feel like my life is one giant lesson in the importance of self-care…. good to get more reminders!

  7. Pingback: Posts to Check Out! | A Writer's Life For Me.

  8. W. K. Tucker says:

    Glad to see you back, Kate, and ready to rock-and-roll. 😀 A very enjoyable piece…loved your humorous twist.
    Believe me, I know about burnout; I think I’m experiencing it right now mixed in with a bit of depression. I’m finding it hard to be motivated to get my butt behind the computer.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi Kathy, I’m getting caught up on all that occurred during the week I took a break. Wow… so much occurred! 😀 Congrats on the short story you had published – fantastic news!

      Hope you feel better soon. Sometimes I think depression does set in a bit with writers… maybe because we’re always exploring the emotions of our characters? Anyway, hang in there, friend; I hope the burnout passes. ❤

  9. A great laugh always helps, Kate. You deliver always. 🙂 Welcome back and great to hear that you feel stronger. Yay!

  10. Deb says:

    Your fan club (me) missed you! 🙂

  11. stacilys says:

    Hey Kate, this is great (did you notice that rhymes 🙂 ) Anyhow, really though, this was so intelligently done and cute. And those are great lessons you learned. Sometimes we, bloggers get too isolated and tuned into the blogosphere.
    🙂

    • Kate Loveton says:

      You are a poet! 😀 Seriously, though, I remember a post you wrote several months ago about taking time to smell the roses (although you didn’t put it that way, that was the gist of it). That’s stayed with me; it is very true.

      • stacilys says:

        Ohhhhh, that’s so great. I’m so glad that one of my simple little poems stayed with you. That blesses my heart Kate.
        This post here was brilliant. You have a gift.
        🙂

  12. It’s so good to see you back blogging, Kate!

    I think, no I know, that the break has done you the world of good not only for your writing but for you in general.

    A delightful post to treat us all with; I am so glad that I made it into Sister Lovely’s class but I guess they had to separate us in order for us not to disrupt the rest of the class! 🙂

  13. I really enjoyed this! I took the week off as well and spent time with real people for a change–they’re kind of interesting but not as easy to control.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Your remark made me grin! You’re right – our characters are a lot easier to control than the people who populate our lives. I think we writers long to be puppet masters! 😀

  14. This is possibly the most adorable blog post ever. Love it! Also, my toe-nails also happen to be neon pink. It must be in the air!

  15. What an awesome post! 😀 Glad you had some time away, but also nice to have you back!

    It is amazing how refreshing it can be not having that blogging pressure though, right?

  16. markbialczak says:

    Congratulations, Kate. Now I hope it sticks to the wall like the figurative wet spaghetti! Now get back writing. 🙂 And go Orioles!

  17. Clever and witty, Kate, and a little bit (no, a good bit) wicked. Yes!

  18. Adan Ramie says:

    A cute story to explain a (sometimes) difficult concept. We’re all told writing is hard work, and it is, but rarely do they tell you that taking a break can be much more productive than slogging through your day-to-day for another hellish week. Glad you enjoyed your time off, and glad to see you back refreshed.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Adan. I think those of us who work full time at other jobs (and that’s probably the majority of us) and who then try to fit our writing in during the few remaining hours left to us feel overwhelmed by it all at times. When that happens, a brief break is just what the doctor ordered. 😉

  19. sknicholls says:

    Good to escape to the rejuvenation corner from time to time. Glad you’re back. 🙂

  20. Bruce Goodman says:

    A+

  21. Marvelous story to describe your time out. I laughed at the sisters’ names but especially for tagging ‘Kate’ because she was the only kid who didn’t raise her hand. Absolutely a delightful read: entertaining and informing. 🙂

  22. willow1945 says:

    Very cute piece! The mean nun was a clever idea (and you even won her over and got an A+!); loved the old photos, especially the ones from the 50’s!

  23. It’s great to see you back, Kate, but it’s more great that you had a break, a bit of Kate time. Unless you are driven by a real visceral need to write (and I’m not), or unless you see it as a job (and I don’t), it has to be enjoyable.
    Good for you!

  24. naomiharvey says:

    I’m glad you had a restful time off, but I’m also glad to see you back 🙂

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