Spring is finally here! At least for most of us. If you live in the Midwest, like I do, it’s probably still a little iffy. (Sigh.)
With warmer weather comes thoughts of escape. Beaches, mountains, and yet-to-be-explored cities call to us. We get that itch, that need to run away and relax somewhere without our bosses nagging us. Or maybe you need to hang upside down on a roller coaster or meet Cinderella. Regardless, it's vacation time!
For a writer, taking a week or two off from writing can be detrimental. You obviously don't want to keep up with your 1,000-words-a-day writing schedule, but there are simple ways to feed the muse while on vacation and make it easier slide back into your routine when you return home.
4 Ways to Keep Writing While Away
Travel is awesome for writing. Experiencing new places, people, and cultures is a great way to refill your inspirational cup.
But it's also disruptive to a writing schedule and can be so overwhelming that you miss or forget details you wanted to use in a story.
Wondering how to keep writing without spending more time focused on your daily writing goals than on your much-needed vacation? Here are four ways to help you remember and keep you in a writer’s mindset while you’re having fun in the sun:
1. Take Something to Write With
This is something you should already be doing everywhere you go. Seriously. You never know when inspiration will strike.
You don’t have to lug around your laptop; it can be something as simple as a note-taking app on your phone or a small notepad. Just make sure you always have something on hand to write down those brilliant lines and story ideas.
2. Pay Attention
I can’t emphasize this enough. Immerse yourself in your surroundings. Take note of the birds, the weather, what other people are saying, architecture, everything. Don’t just walk through life in a haze; be present.
You don’t need to write down your observations of everything. That would be too much and would take you away from your vacation. You can jot down anything that strikes you as particularly inspiring, but otherwise just experience.
3. Take Pictures
This one seems obvious. You’re already walking around with your phone out, snapping away at every little thing.
What I suggest is taking pictures of things you normally wouldn’t bother with. Photos you won’t share on social media or print out to put in an album. (Does anyone other than me still have photo albums?)
The ones that capture the essence of place. The ones that show everyday humans in their normal environment. (Don’t be creepy!)
Those are the photos you can use later as inspiration for a story.
4. Reflect on Your Day
Whether you’re camping (my preference) or staying in a posh hotel, take time out at the end of your day to jot down thoughts.
Did you do something exhilarating? Write down how you felt. Did you see a cool landmark or show? Describe it.
This doesn’t have to be long, just a little reminder. You will forget as soon as you get home and throw down your luggage (to be unpacked three weeks later). Trust me.
How to Keep Writing: Don't Stop
I’m not saying you need to keep up with your normal daily word count. In fact, don’t! Go out and experience the world, have fun with your family, and interact with new friends. You’ll return with a ton of inspiration!
But I also don’t recommend taking a week or two off from being in “writing mode.” Keep your brain engaged as a writer’s should be. It’ll be that much easier to get back into the groove when you return.
Do you have a plan to keep up with your writing on vacation? Let me know in the comments!
Today I want you to take a character on vacation. This can be a current character you’re working with or a brand new one. Choose a place from the following: Paris; a beach; the mountains. Take fifteen minutes to describe the moment they first arrive at their destination. How do they feel? What do they see?
When you’re done, share your writing in the comments. Don’t forget to comment on your fellow writers’ work!
Sarah Gribble is the author of dozens of short stories that explore uncomfortable situations, basic fears, and the general awe and fascination of the unknown. She just released Surviving Death, her first novel, and is currently working on her next book.
Follow her on Instagram or join her email list for free scares.