Getting Back on Track

Nancy J. Cohen

How do you get back on track after being away from home? When I go on vacation, attend a conference, or even do a one-day speaking engagement, I lose about two days of work for every day gone. It’s hard to jump back into your Work in Progress when you have bills to pay, receipts to file, emails that need response, phone calls to return, and household chores like laundry and food shopping to complete. With that being said, the idea of being able to use a shift swapping app when people are away could make getting back into work a lot easier. Plus, people can switch shifts if certain people can’t make it.

Photos from our visit to Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival:

Spaceship Earth  


Chocolate Cake

Lamb Chop

Easing into a work schedule is impossible for me when all these things are on my mind. Thus I allow a few days to get caught up, maybe not in everything but at least in the essentials, before turning to the work left waiting for me.

There’s no easy way to get back to the grind. You can reread your material and do some edits to put the story into your head again. Or you can set a writing/editing schedule beginning with a certain date.

I’m expecting line edits on Warrior Lord, #3 in my Drift Lords paranormal series. Before these arrive, I want to move ahead with Peril by Ponytail, my next Bad Hair Day mystery. This story is based on my recent Arizona trip, and I’d like to write it while those details are still fresh in my mind. And yet I have travel arrangements to make for a New York trip in January, bank statements to reconcile, a wedding invitation that needs a response, family visits to plan, and more. Plus the laundry and food shopping must be done today, not to mention paying the property tax bill, etc.

In a week or so, I’ll be caught up. And this is only from going away for four days. So how do you ease into your work schedule after a vacation? Do you jump right into it, or do you allow yourself time to get caught up?


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11 thoughts on “Getting Back on Track

  1. I keep a calendar with what I want to accomplish each day. (Every day, not just when I travel.) I scope out what will need to be done, and how much really has to be done right away, and let the catch up work taper over a few days, while the writing works picks up, until I’m up to speed again. Some things may have to linger an extra day or two, but this allows me to keep more balls in the air and not worry about dropping any.

  2. Sounds like your trips are fun, Nancy! I find traveling tiring too, especially when it’s a writers’ conference, which account for most of my trips. Stimulating but exhausting! When I get back, I find it can take up to 5-6 days to unpack my suitcase, while I catch up on editing-related tasks and writing blog posts, etc. I just set priorities and let the rest go for a while…

    • Yes, it’s a matter of priorities. I have to clear things off my desk here before I can fully focus on writing after returning from a trip. Conferences are more work because you might have follow up correspondence, filing papers, etc.

  3. I like the idea of a writing calendar for every day. I have one when I actually start writing a book, but realize I need to do it all the time. TKZ has lots of great information!

  4. Nancy–
    I see from your photos that you visited the Scotland booth at the Epcot food/wine event. I can only hope you were there for a scotch, not to sample the national dish, haggis (“consists of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep or a calf minced with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and that is boiled the stomach of the animal”-Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary).
    About picking up the thread after being away from your writing: I regret having to say it–and I will catch some flak for sexism–but there’s really only one workable answer. Painful though it will be, your art requires that you divorce your husband and enter into a same-sex relationship with someone who is willing to be your wife. Sorry, but I see no other answer.

    • Barry, the Scotland booth had vegetarian haggis, but I still passed. We tasted the real thing in Edinburgh, and that was enough.

      As for spousal relationships, I am very fortunate that my husband has been trained to run errands, cook, and help with the dishes. To date, he doesn’t do laundry. Being retired also helps. LOL

  5. The DH is just a good-hearted man. I write early in the morning when I’m on a schedule. Avoiding email and the Internet until I reach my page quota is the only way I get it done.

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