One of the difficulties that comes with being a writer is that your job is never finished. You don’t get to come home at the end of the day and cut off thinking about your job completely, and you don’t get to take a two-week paid vacation; as writers, our thoughts are always consumed by the story we are writing. For people who like to travel, like me, this difficulty is made even harder. Writing on the road is not an easy task, but here are some pieces of advice I’ve learned and used through the years to make writing and traveling coexist as easily as possible.
Write at the beginning or end of the day. Chances are, if you’re traveling with others, they won’t want to be up at sunrise ready to start the activities of the day. Or if they do, they won’t be awake late into the night. Choose which time of day you have the opportunity to be alone and use it to write. Bonus: you’ll get to see some beautiful sunrises or the midnight glow of the moon in a place you’ve never been before.
Write during downtime. Every vacation has downtime. Maybe you’re trying to kill time before your next bus or train arrives, maybe there’s an hour wait before your table is ready for dinner, or maybe everyone has decided to take an afternoon nap. When you aren’t actively doing something or spending your time with loved ones, use the time to write. It will put your mind at ease to accomplish something, and you’ll be able to enjoy your next activity that much more.
Think about your story while driving. This piece of advice is mostly relevant to road trips, but it can also be applied if you have a long drive to reach a certain destination from your hotel. When you’re driving, you can’t do much else other than think. Use the time to think about your story—what you want to happen next, if your characters are developed enough, what you think you need to work on, and what you think you’re succeeding in. Brainstorming and analyzing your writing is sometimes just as important as actually getting the words down, and you’ll feel more prepared when you find time to sit down at your computer next.
Enjoy your travels. Your writing will benefit from you living your life to its fullest. I know, I know. It’s hard to turn off that little voice in your head that tells you you need to be writing. But when you are in a new place, seeing new sights, and spending time with the people you love, it’s important that you dedicate time to fully immersing yourself in the moment. Your story is always there to come back to at the end of the day. By letting yourself truly enjoy your vacation, hopefully you’ll experience a number of things that you can use in your writing later on. A writer’s true job is to live . . . otherwise there would be nothing for them to write about.
Do you try to write when you travel? What advice do you have for staying on track even when you’re away from home? Let me know in the comments!