Happy Labor Day (to everyone in the US)! The last “official” day of summer, I guess. Back where I come from (there was a song in there, somewhere) today is the last that beaches and pools are open and all of the lifeguards get to go back to their normal lives. Me, I get a long weekend and an extra day off to do whatever I want.
What do you do when you get the magical bonus of a long weekend? Lounge around? Entertain family? What are you doing with your extra days off? The holidays are coming (Halloween is coming! I can’t wait!)
Why not make part of your bonus days off a little more productive. I’m not saying bury yourself in writing. That may or may not be the most productive use of your time. Many holidays have festivals and events that go along with them. This weekend, for example, was the Disneyland Half Marathon. Now, I didn’t get in on THOSE festivities, but I’m sure there are many other places to get into trouble if I look hard enough.
If you are going to be out and around on extra day off, why not try to catch some interesting conversation bits that you might not catch any other time? Grab details on settings that might be fleeting and elusive. Don’t forget, you may have your phone with you and you can send yourself a text message or you can use apps on a smart phone. Capture details that you might be able to use later. Snap a few pictures that might not be what you would ordinarily take wherever you are, something that might bring back the setting or might just be interesting. At the mall? Grab a shot of the food court or an interesting store. See a few interesting people (I live in a place where three town are renown for being Weird, Unusual and “between a rock and a weird place”, there are always interesting people). Homeless guy? Panhandler that has a unique angle (juggling maybe or break dancing). Capture it. File it away (organize your digital files so you can easily retrieve things).
You may not need the information now, but you never know when it might come in handy. You may, one day, need to put one of your characters in a family picnic or a beach party, you may want to set a backdrop to something.
Make use of whatever time you have and whatever place you may find yourself. If you can’t use it now, squirrel it away somewhere. You may, one day, be glad for the little details you ferreted out when you were enjoying your down time!