Writing on Vacation

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?


Filed under Travel, Writing

8 responses to “Writing on Vacation

  1. anitra

    Hi Shary
    I liked the clarity of your ideas about writing on vacation. I forced myself to put in 2 hrs a day, however, on Mary Sue’s book when I was vacationing and that (as opposed to what you’re suggesting) was a mistake. It took away the relaxation and fun of the vacation. Nulled it.
    Light, fun writing on vacation..that seems right.

  2. This is a good reminder Shary. I often find myself going on vacation and leaving everything behind, but as you mentioned, writing about your travel experiences imbed them in your memory in a different way, making the experiences somehow come into sharper focus. I will be taking your advice next time I travel!

  3. Shary, I like that you still manage to include writing time in your vacation. I find that I have to do so as well because if I don’t, I sort of lose the creative muse that likes to keep me company when I’m regularly writing. Like you mention, it’s wonderful to write about the places one visits, with its sights and smells, because this serves to make the experience more memorable. I always carry a small notebook around with me to take notes of things I see or events I witness, to later incorporate in my blog posts. Great post! 🙂

  4. Leah

    Gread tips, Shary. I never travel (I haven’t in years). But I do find myself needing a writing schedule when I’m on a staycation. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I don’t have a laptop and can’t write by hand–for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work for me–so I don’t know what writing while traveling is like. I have, however, been known to pack so many books, there was no room for my toothbrush, clothes or tampons.

  6. Sandra

    Ah Ha!
    Me to Viv… Here let’s look at Tante Shary’s Blog.
    Viv… Cool (she likes everything digital).
    Me to Viv… Why don’t you try that this summer. You can start during Grandma Camp.
    I think writing about where she is while she is there sounds like a great idea. I hope that it will also help her with the what did you do this summer exercise her teachers usually ask for when school starts up again too.