Monday, May 16, 2011

What I Learned from Disney About Writing

So last week I truly took off. No computer. No internet. No emails, texts, facebooks, or tweets. For seven days I went cold turkey.

Of course, it didn't hurt that I spent the week here:

Yeah. My family and I took off for warmer climates to thaw out from the winter and get to know each other again. And ride a few rides. And eat... a lot.

It was an amazing time to just spend with the kids without books and computers and deadlines and homework - theirs and mine. We talked a ton, laughed even more, and though I thought being off-line would possibly kill me, I loved it.

But there's no getting away from writing when you're a writer, even if it's only in your head. Looking around at Disney World is a education in vision and persistence, and what Walt Disney did with his small kingdom could be a lesson for us writers too.

So here's what I learned:

  • Cleanliness is important, whether it's total lack of trash in the streets or spelling errors in a manuscript. People will judge you on it.
  • Pick at least one thing (a setting, a character, a subplot - or a castle or tree in the middle of the park) and make it extraordinary.
  • Market yourself wherever you have the opportunity. There was a joke on the jungle cruise, as we headed into a dark tunnel: "You never know where this will lead. Of course, it's Disney so it'll probably end in a gift store." 
  • Details make a difference, even in the places you think few people will notice.
  • Don't be afraid to keep revising something if it has a kink in it.
  • Be passionate about what you are doing.
I'm sure I'll think of more later, but my brain is sunburned. :) I missed you all last week. I'll try to catch up in the next days.


  1. It's amazing how one man's vision has emerged into such a huge enterprise. :-)

    Glad you had fun! I usually unplug quite a bit from the computer during the weekends, but still can't resist checking email.

  2. We're beginning to plan our Disneyworld trip now! So I'm very excited. I'm very impressed that you managed to find writing advice at Disneyworld. All great tips. I'm glad you had such a great, renewing week with your family. Back to the books now?

  3. So so true!! I love that place!! (Just made all my dining reservations this morning for my next trip!!) I bring a journal with me to Disney and while I'm waiting for parades or shows or whatever, I write in it!

    Sounds like you had a fab time!!!!

  4. It is very good to take a break sometimes, and after your first MFA semester, practically a priority. I'm super proud of you and jealous-I can't wait to take Loki there!!!!

    Glad you are back!!!!

  5. How fun :D
    Our big vacation is a camping trip with some of my cousins in Canada. Looking forward to it, glad you guys had a good time!

  6. I'm glad you had a really good time, and laughed, lots. Love the tip about marketing. So true!

  7. I think it's great to have a break once in a while. I can't wait until we can take a vacation, although I'm not sure when that will happen.

  8. LOVE this. How inspiring...and awesome photo!