Busman’s Holiday

Are you familiar with the term Busman’s Holiday?   According to Wictionary, the term was originally coined in 1893 to describe a busman (or bus driver) who, for his holiday, takes an excursion on a bus.  More generally, it means someone who vacations by doing the same thing he does for a living.  I am writing a proposal this week for a job in my vocation, engineering.  An engineer who not only understands the technology but can write about it clearly is a valued commodity, so I’ve been doing this for most of my life.  Writing a proposal usually involves long hours and the anxiety of melding the written inputs of an assortment of (sometimes awful) writers (who for some reason have an inflated pride of authorship) into a single readable document.  This is a small proposal so the hours are not so long and there are only a few writers but it still is a lot less fun than blogging, my avocation.  So, here I am on a Busman’s Holiday of sorts, taking a short break to post for Top Sites Tuesday #169 with Two Thoughts on Tuesday about writing proposals.

For over forty years, I looked upon writing proposals as a necessary evil, something that kept me in demand but diverted me from what I did best … science.  I’d forgotten that in high school, I loved writing best.  In my late forties, I read a book called The Artist’s Way that helped me realize I wanted to be a writer.  I began taking courses in creative writing and writing short stories and even a novel.  But in spite of getting one story published, I gradually gave up on being a professional writer.  Then one day … and this is Thought Number One I took a look at the dozens of proposals and reports and technical papers I’d authored and realized I’d been paid to write all along.  You’d think I’d have learned to enjoy proposal writing once I realized that but it hasn’t happened.

I have never been called anal-retentive.  Just check out my office after a busy week or the back seat of my car.  But put a proposal deadline in front of me and I’m Mr. Potty-Trained-Too-Early.   The proposal deadline becomes the Only Thing, filling my brain and my time.  People … from wife to friends to colleagues … become important only to the degree they’re helping with the task at hand and annoying to the degree that they’re not.   I’m impatient with questions about other issues (sorry, Dear), interruptions (sorry, friends) and anything that smells like disagreement with my plan to finish (sorry, colleagues).  And I’m wired, needing a Busman’s Holiday just to relax a bit before bed.  So, here’s Thought Number Two: If I had a deadline for magazine articles or short stories … no just my self-imposed deadlines for posts on Older Eyes … would I be the same way?  And then what would I do for a Busman’s Holiday, write poetry?  There’s a good chance we’ll never know.  By the way, if you want me to know you were here, please leave me a comment and … if you enjoyed this post … please push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #169.

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4 Comments on “Busman’s Holiday”

  1. Cheryl P. Says:

    I would say that being tunnel visioned due to an impending deadline (even if self-imposed) for a proposal has more to due with the fact of you are being diligent and less about you being anal-retentive. I appreciate people that are goal oriented and manage tasks well. It’s those that can’t stay focused and take forever that would be annoying.

    As for your second thought…if you had an actual deadline because of a writing gig with some type of publisher, would everything else take a back seat? I am sure it would. If you are the type of person that “takes care of business” you would work on whatever needed to be done. Whether it sucked out all of the joy you derive from writing, that might be more of an issue.

  2. liggybee Says:

    I agree with Cheryl…I wouldn’t consider you anal-retentive. In fact, I think you possess a great sense of responsibility for the task at hand and will do your best to follow through on it no matter what it takes. I think it’s a great quality and something we all need a little more of ourselves. Kudos, Bud!

  3. Trina Says:

    Ummm…. So a busman’s holiday for a Pumpkin grower would be to visit another Pumpkin Patch and pick their pumpkins? LOL What a wonderfully dreadful idea!

    I’m with you on being interrupted while writing a proposal. The problem isn’t really the person interrupting it’s what you forget to put in the proposal or have to remember for later that is so bad. And anyway, when it’s work, it’s rarely fun anymore 😉


  4. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud!

    Now that’s a lot to think about!

    Proposals are so very involved you have to have everything fresh on your mind with nothing else to think about. We sit down and complete them as quickly as possible after visiting the proposed job.

    And anyway, being anal-retentive is sometime a good quality…. or so I’ve been told…

    Clicks for you!

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