I’ve recently returned from what some would call a dream vacation: 16 day cruise with a 4-day stop at different Hawaiian islands. It was a great experience and we saw some amazing sites.

While on the cruise I discovered that the longer the cruise the older the passengers. I can’t believe how many people over eighty I met on the boat!

With such an older crowd there was no shortage of stories from times such as the 1930’s/40’s. Lots of stories of how the way of life was back then, challenges they faced and people they remember. As a writer, there was no end to the content one could glean and how many of these true life stories were stranger than fiction.

A lesson learned for my next vacation, is as a writer I shouldn’t just look at a vacation as a time for “self” and lounging around. Instead there are many opportunities to meet people and keep filling one’s idea bucket. . .and write! Unfortunately, I didn’t plan ahead and didn’t make the time to do much writing on this vacation. The days I did get some words to paper felt great, but the writing could have been less haphazard.

A writer can gain so much more out of one’s vacation, if they are intentional about the craft during vacation.

After returning from vacation, it was the middle of the day when I stumbled upon my thirteen year old typing at the computer. Not a normal activity, so I asked what he was up to. He said he was writing a Halo story (he loves the halo games, movies and books). This about knocked me over, because out of my four kids, he’s the last one I’d expect would be interested in writing.

Lesson number two, is sometimes as a writer we focus on our personal struggle with being consistent to write and forget about the opportunities to encourage those around us. . .regardless of who they are. I now have a great opportunity and responsibility to encourage a new young writer to work on his craft. It’s exciting and humbling at the same time.

Lastly, I had a conference call with a fellow employee from the other side of the country and one I’ve never met before. She saw my company profile where I had included in the description that I’m a self-published author. She immediately had to tell me about here writing endeavors and wanted to know if she could send me a copy of her children’s book to look through and give her some feedback.

Lesson number three, as a writer we never know when we have an instant bond with other writers. Be gracious and helpful, because we may never know that person we connect with and encourage may be someone who changes lives through their writing.