GUEST BLOG: Take a Spirit Vacation with Children’s Writer Sara Matson


Today I am delighted to have children’s freelance writer, Sara Matson, as my guest.  Sara and I went to high school together  years ago and hadn’t been in touch until we crossed paths through Verla Kay’s Blue Boards this past summer.  What a delightful surprise to discover we’d both chosen similar writerly journeys!  I hope you will  be inspired and renewed, as I have,  by Sara’s thoughts on the importance of “Spirit Vacations”. Take it away, Sara!

One long-ago November morning, I reserved a room at a local hotel, packed my laptop and a few clothes, and—somewhat guiltily—kissed my husband and twin toddlers goodbye. Then I ran away from home. The magical 24 hours that followed included silk pajamas, chocolate cake, and lots of writing. I returned home happy…and wondering how soon I could go again.

Ten years have passed, and the mommy guilt has lessened as I have become bolder. Besides feeding my spirit, taking time to fuel my writing dream makes me a nicer mom and wife. I now run away regularly 2 or 3 times a year. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things that might help others who need a break.

1) Two nights are better than one. For me, much of the first night is about unwinding. (Book and bubble bath, anyone?) Scheduling 2 nights away, or even 3, allows me to relax and accomplish a lot.

2) Groupons and deals can help keep costs down. So can hotels with a free breakfast and a mini refrigerator for storing a sandwich or two.

3) Typing on a laptop for hours = tight muscles. I pack sweats and sneakers for running up and down stairs or visiting the workout room between writing sessions.

4) These trips are deductible; at least my tax man says so. I save my hotel bill and meal receipts. I also keep a detailed list of the manuscripts I worked on in case I’m ever questioned.

Running away from home is a practice I plan to continue. In fact, by the time you read this, I’ll have just returned from a weekend away. Why not consider a spirit vacation of your own? There’s nothing like a day or two of uninterrupted writing time to refresh, invigorate, and satisfy. But silk pajamas and chocolate cake don’t hurt, either.

ImageSara lives, writes, and homeschools her 7th grade daughters in Minnesota. She has published more than 80 stories, articles, crafts and activities in HIGHLIGHTS, HIGHLIGHTS HIGH FIVE, POCKETS, and other magazines, and has contributed to six CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL books. Please visit her website at

25 thoughts on “GUEST BLOG: Take a Spirit Vacation with Children’s Writer Sara Matson

    • Yes, I’m blessed with a very supportive husband. He even made sure the kitchen was clean before I got home yesterday! (The kids stayed up until four a.m. one night and ate pizza all weekend, but we won’t go into that… )

  1. What a great idea. I love that these Spirit Vacations are tax-deductible! There’s truth in the airplane idea that in case of an emergency, you need to put your mask on first, and then help children. As a mom, I find I’m a much better person if I also get my needs, which includes my writing needs, met. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’ve always loved the “getaway” idea, even if it’s not for writing. Of course, I only did it once and it was only for a day, but I LOVED it! 😀

    And Lauri, we never caught up on Saturday at Craft Day! I remember us saying we would find each other, but the day just gets away from you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the exhilarating whirlwind, isn’t it? 😀

      • No, not really, Lauri. I went to Sean McCarthy’s on “The Importance of Narrative Tension,” Liza Voges’ on “What Makes a Good Book,” and Jenna Pocius’ on “The Function of Narration.” I ALways enjoy these events 😀

  3. Just wondering if you wait until you have something you want to really work on before you take an S*V*…? Or, do you get away to relax and then be inspired? Do you ever feel pressured to come back with something awesome?…. 🙂

    • I’ll be curious to read Sara’s thoughts, but I think Spirit Vacations are beneficial at any stage of the writing process. I can envision taking one, for example, with the sole purpose of generating new ideas.

    • Hello, Lisa! (my awesome sister)

      To answer your terrific questions, 🙂 I usually choose the getaway dates several weeks or a month in advance. Once it’s on my calendar, I think my mind starts working subconsciously on my project list, because I always have one by the time I leave home.

      And I always hope to come back with something awesome, or even halfway awesome, but really–coming back with anything begun or completed is a positive!

  4. I have done a “private writing retreat” twice. Two days of uninterrupted writing (fueled by snacks!) was just pure heaven. I got so much done. I skipped this year out of guilt but I think I’ll do it again next year. Especially now that you’ve informed me about the tax deduction! How funny that you and Laura went to school together. Small world. Also, since Lisa asked, I do a little prepping beforehand. I figure out what I’ll work on and also bring some inspirational supplies.

  5. Pingback: SPILT MILK: Five Tips for Finding time to Write | Laura Sassi Tales

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