Summer Vacation Season is Here!


I always intend to write while I travel.  It's not easy to fit writing time into the over-scheduled itineraries I can't seem to stop planning.  Still, sometimes I manage to stick to a writing schedule.  When I do, here's what works for me:

1. I keep my tools simple and light.

I carry a notebook and pen. (Maybe I’m paranoid, but I make sure to buy pens that won’t leak or explode in flight .) If you love gadgets, try writing on a tablet computer. Now that I have a super light netbook, I’ll be carrying it in my purse along with my quart-sized bag of three ounce toiletries.

2. I schedule writing time every day.

No matter how hard I try to sleep in, I wake up ridiculously early in the morning. The good news is that I can usually squeeze my writing time in before my family or travel companions get up. If you’re a normal sleeper and have to steal away for your writing time, you might try a local cafe or library. Do an Internet search for possible writing locations before you leave home.

3. During a writing session, I try to reflect on where I am.

I might not need a description of a small town main street, a European village or a quiet lake for my current project, but I may for a future story. Writing about a place helps me remember and appreciate it long after the trip is over. The sounds, the smells, the breeze, the bugs… things that don’t show up in my photos.

4. I remind myself that I’m on vacation.

I know I won’t be able to keep my normal schedule when I’m traveling. Even if I only write little every day, I stay in touch with my characters or at least with my writing brain. When I get back home, it’s much easier to resettle into my routine.

When I’m away, I see things from a different point of view. A change of scenery gives me a new perspective on my characters and my novel. The break in my routine recharges my creative batteries. I think the quality the travel experience brings to my writing is worth the reduction in quantity.

Do you write when you travel? What works for you?

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Comment by Shary Hover Folkmann on June 1, 2011 at 5:04pm
I would rather do almost anything instead of bungee jumping, but writing is always high on my list.
Comment by Elaine Masters on June 1, 2011 at 12:37pm
I love to write when I travel. On one trip I made myself post to my blog regularly or at least prepared blog posts. It was refreshing on a recent 6 day New Zealand family road trip to step away from all the activity and take a few hours for myself to write, walk and think. (I opted out of bungee jumping). Love what you said about how you write about the things that don't make it into the photos. Once in Sri Lanka I took pictures during a temple ritual with blaring horns and was so disappointed that the pictures couldn't capture the sensory bath of that experience. I write best by keyboard and carry a small Lenovo computer. It's just barely adequate but someday I'll be writing on an iPad with an external keyboard.


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