Holiday palm

If, like me, a week away from your laptop and constant access to Twitter fills you with dread, here are some tips to appease your creative sensibilities while still getting some much-needed downtime.

1) Scribble on paper and then lock your notes in the safe

A paper note can be a refreshing way to examine your ideas and help you make connections you might not have otherwise grasped.

As for the safe, this is not because some would-be plagiarist might steal them (see Lucy V’s post here), but because the maid might be disturbed by the carefully planned murder laid out on hotel stationery.

2) Mobile apps are your friend

I drafted this post in the bar with a cocktail. Evernote, Celtx, Dropbox – make sure they’re synced and ready to go. Also, take advantage of any hotel wifi for a quick glance at email (though I dutifully set my auto-responder) – it’s particularly good if there’s a time limit to the thing, for those of us too weak to stay disconnected.

3) Research material

I’m aiming to bring an amateur detective to life in November, so my holiday literature consisted principally of detectives’ first outings. The rest were thrillers – get yourself in the mood. The same applies to the in-flight movie – pick something genre appropriate.

4) New locations, cultures, characters

A hotel, resort, or campsite is the perfect place to meet your cast. You’ll see the same folk by the pool, on the slopes, at the buffet, in the bars. And you may pick up a setting or the whiff of an exotic idea you’d never before contemplated.

Steampunk assassins was first conceived on a holiday to Sri Lanka, and I’m not entirely sure it could’ve been born anywhere else. Fawlty Towers is based on the Pythons’ stay with a grumpy hotelier in Torquay. Keep an open mind.

5) Remember to relax and switch off

Take some “me” time. A quick massage, a round of crazy golf, or even an extra helping of dessert can set you up wonderfully to start anew when you get home.

And maybe ditch that monitor tan for something people get from that sunlight thing.

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