Summer is one of the most popular seasons for travel. With school out of session and the weather at its warmest, many people take advantage of the opportunity to go on vacation. I personally love to travel and think that it’s a great way to explore the world and get rejuvenated. However, traveling can hinder your writing. If you don’t stay diligent, it’s easy to go your entire vacation without writing a single word.
I am going on several trips this month and I would like to share some advice on how I stay motivated to write while I’m traveling.
Writing in the Car
When traveling by car, it may take you hours or days before you reach your final destination. Unless you have a power adapter that gives you the ability to charge your laptop while you’re driving, I would suggest bringing a journal and a lot of extra pens instead of your laptop. If you have a ten hour journey, you won’t get much writing done if your computer dies three hours into the trip. Using a journal and pen makes it easier to write, jot down notes, brainstorm, or sketch a map without a bulky machine on your lap.
Take in the Scenery
My favorite part of a road trip is the ability to look out the window and observe all of the scenery. Whether it’s trees, desert, mountains, or ocean, watching the world pass by you is a great way to get inspiration for world building. As you drive, make sure to write down as many details as you can. Your descriptions of the scenery will be so much more authentic if you describe them as you observe them, rather than attempting to describe them from the comfort of your desk chair at home. These descriptions will make it easier for you to immerse yourself and your reader into the story.
Traveling Alone? Talk It Out
If you are driving to your destination alone, your hands will be in use and you won’t be able to write as you drive. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t work on your novel as you drive. Before departing for your destination, plug in your phone to a car charger and start recording a voice memo. It may sound silly, but you can talk out different scenarios and describe what’s around you while you are recording. By recording your thoughts, you won’t have to try and remember them later on. You may run out of storage space if you record for too long, but you can always transcribe your recording when you hit a rest stop and then begin fresh when you go back onto the road. However, do not let the phone distract you while you’re driving. If it stops recording when you are twenty miles from a rest stop, just leave it and stay focused on the road until you can stop.
Mile Marker Challenge
It would be highly unlikely and incredibly stressful to expect yourself to write for the entire duration of your road trip, especially if you’re traveling with others. Keep yourself motivated by writing for designated stretches of the trip, unless inspiration strikes you and you feel the need to keep going. Take notice of the signs on the side of the road that indicate how far away you are to the next big city. If the next big city is in fifty miles, dedicate the next fifty miles to writing. This is also an easy way for your fellow passengers to know how long you will be writing and how long they should leave you alone. To avoid putting off writing for too far into your trip, map out your route before you depart. Pick out a few cities from the map that can serve as checkpoints along the way so that you’ll know exactly how often you will be writing as you drive.
Road trips are one of the most popular forms of vacation travel. Although you must account for the additional time it takes to drive to the final destination, I think traveling by car is a great way to take in your surroundings and see the country up close. This advantage can help you with world building and since you will be sitting in a car for hours, it gives you lots of extra time to write some words before your vacation begins.
If you have other tips for writing while traveling by car, please share them in the comments.
Until next week,