It's finally happening. My husband and I are heading out for my first ever road trip through the U.S.! Well, not the entirety of the country but we definitely will be hitting up some fabulous national parks and camping grounds (Ouray, Colorado's a stop on the list as well). The point is, as excited as I am for this road trip, I know I'll never stop writing and will any chance I get along the way. The only setback here is that I don't have an expandable duffle-bag that has an electric port for my iMac (Making a note for a silly idea for an invention here).
Here's the challenge when writing while globetrotting: since you're not at your battle station to write out ideas, you inevitably find difficulty reaching your writing goals while on the go. There's plenty of ways to work around this though, so here are a few tips on not just how to meet your writing goals, but on what to bring with you to make it happen.
Let's start with what to bring. Checking off the physical items will always be the most straightforward task when prepping for writing during a vacation.
1) Your Journal (and a Pen or Pencil)
I've religiously stated the use for a journal on this blog because no writer should be without one (I probably have thirty or more of varying sizes). On this quickly approaching adventure, I'll be in some off-the-grid campsites, but even if you're heading for a 5-star hotel in Norway, internet and power won't always be completely available. Your journal will not only compensate for that but will also be available to you in your car or airplane seat. With every journal, of course, you will also need a reliable writing utensil. I have a pencil bag filled to the brim with my favorite pens and pencil's for such an occasion and recommend the same.
2) The Sounds of Your Worlds
That's right; whether this is a soundtrack playlist for your latest project or the ambient sounds of your world, you should prepare your on the go writing zone. In case you didn't know, ambient-mixer.com now has a phone app you can use with your log-in info if you have an account. Ok, this one is not physical, but you're going to use physical means to listen to these sounds, so the mobile device or MP3 player are implied (and headphones!).
3) Laptop or Tablet
There's a reason behind portable tech now isn't there? Laptops or tablets along the journey are always convenient, and transferring your project files to your devices are always a good move. I'd still suggest bringing along a journal for off-the-grid locations and no way to charge up your tech, but a must for travel. If you go this route, be sure to back everything to your at home computer (if you're not the "laptop is my main stop" kind of artist).
4) Bring a Book
Writer's block is going to happen during travel. You're going to need advice on a scene or a better way to fix that plot hole that snuck up on you. What better way than to study up on an author you trust? Whether this book is a novel by your favorite author or the latest book on writing you picked up at the book store, make time to read during your trip when you can't write. Remember you're on vacation and your writing is too.
You'll probably think of more than I've listed (we all have our packing lists), but let's move on to how to meet those writing goals.
1) Have a Clear Writing Goal
First and foremost, let's be realistic. There are going to be plenty of distractions because you're exploring. You're not going to accomplish a round of NaNoWriMo on this trip (unless you're heading to a writer's retreat and if you are, that's an entirely different story). I keep my goals manageable knowing full well I'm not going to crunch out a novel on my vacation. I may not even finish a single chapter. My goals for vacation writing are developed solely on the acceptance that even if I am traveling, my creative mind isn't going to stop. It'll stress me out not to scribble down something so best not to ignore it. My goals mainly are, when I feel inspired, journal something. If my brain doesn't quit, type at the laptop while there's downtime at camp or on the road. I don't set a goal of "write five chapters" while I'm out. My goal instead is: write whenever you feel inspired, shoot for maybe a chapter or two. If nothing else, outline the bigger picture of the series.
2) Transit Time is the Best Time
I'm facing the start of a pretty long road trip in a couple of days. There's going to be a lot of vehicle travel and nothing else to do. Transit is the best time to pop open the laptop, flip open the journal, or get the audiobook started for inspiration and work. Take advantage of this time, especially if there aren't scenic vistas outside the window.
3) Vacation Schedule
Whether you're on a strict itinerary or you're going with the flow, it is possible to block out an hour of uninterrupted writing. In my case, it looks like I'll have several hours of non-stop car driving over and over to book my writing schedule. Check out your vacation plan and see if you can't find spots to plug in writing time.
4) Enjoy Your Vacation
We all need breaks from writing, and you're on vacation! Crunch out your words, write down your inspiration, and then go on an adventure! See the sites, write while you hike (in your head), contemplate while you sunbathe and experiment with descriptions on all the exciting flavors you're going to taste! Use your vacation to rejuvenate your creativity and expand it by seeing new things. This is your time to reward yourself for all your hard work while you expand your horizons!