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Friday, June 7, 2013

The Traveling Writer

photo courtesy lusi,
Summer is upon us. While it is a fun time of vacations and family events, it's also a tricky time for the traveling writer. We want to keep up with our writing goals of minimum word counts and/or pages written, maintain blog posts and social media, and leave a foot planted in the other world of literary happenings so we don't feel out of the loop. Such ambitions are lofty, but not altogether impossible with a little planning and--dare I say it--goal downsizing. Here are a few tricks I like to employ:
  • Rise early and get the writing done before anyone else wakes up, but put a little slack in your daily goals (i.e., if you normally write 1,000 words a day, decrease it to 500)
  • Take vacation time to plot and research other stories and ideas instead of working on a current project: this takes less uninterrupted time, and I've found being on the road tends to add a little extra spark to the imagination
  • Read for writing: instead of using travel time to read solely for pleasure, grab that marketing book and a highlighter and plow through it mid-flight
  • Schedule your blogs: Write your blogs in advance and schedule them to post while you are on your vacation, schedule guest bloggers, or--if your break is less than a couple weeks--post to let your readers know you will be taking a vacation
  • Post interesting pictures or tidbits about your vacation on your social media periodically (make sure it's interesting and not overly personal)
Last but not least:
  • Give yourself permission to have a good time. It is, after all, a vacation.
Although all writers should wear that "get your seat in the chair" mindset like a banner across the brain, we must also be purposeful about stepping back a little to enjoy and be a part of the real life stories going on around us. So continue to write while you travel, continue to plot and plan and engage your readership, but take a courageous (and generous) step back when your travels involve family time. This way, the story you live will far out-impact any story you could ever write. Happy travels!
Tanara McCauley


  1. Tanara, I absolutely love this. I was doing NaNoWriMo last year while on vacation and I had to implement a lot of these ideas to keep up my word count. It was a road trip to Texas -- I love road trips, my husband prefers to fly -- so I had my laptop going for as long as my battery held out while the hubby drove.

    Great post.

  2. Great hints. I've got two weeks in July coming up and I'll keep them in mind.