Thursday, July 10, 2008

Writing When You're Traveling--How Do Book-Writers Do It?

So far it's been a summer of intense travel, living out of a suitcase, and trying to write in internet cafes, sending book chapters-in-progress to myself by email.

Each trip, I try not to leave behind these books I'm writing. A colleague once said, if you stop writing for three days you have to start over again. I get that. Losing the flow of my characters' voices, losing the ideas of how to structure a section of my book just so. Does this happen to you? Or can you "hold" the book for longer in your head without showing up on the page?

How does travel affect your creative life? How do you keep going with your book-writing when you're on the go?

Post a comment by clicking below--let us know!


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  2. Mary Carroll,
    I am writing this from the Netherlands, actually a little village called Volpe near Arnhem. I so agree, a few days away from writing can become a lifetime away from the flow, the line of thought. Or so I believed until I began the following practice just yesterday. For 1/2 hour I thought of the writing I must do and with pen in hand decided that everything I saw, hear or experienced was directly related to the book. I made a conscious decision that everything was there to simply inform and enhance the book. This may seem simplistic or even silly, yet I learned so much about the flow and the connection to everyday life from this practice. Is it perfect? No. But what is, when it comes to the process of writing?
    Greetings from Holland,

  3. Great idea, Kathy!
    Enjoy your travels--and hope to see you in another class.

  4. Hi Mary,

    I just returned from Door County, a gorgeous place where the petunias come up to your knees and the water is endless. Having just bought a laptop, I couldn't wait to introduce the muse to the view from the verandah at our hotel. Stunning. Muse thought so too, she just wanted to stare out at the beauty and sigh. We managed to write only three pages the whole vacation.

    I have read so much about the discipline of writing every day, the dangers of falling out of the story or loosing your momentum if you don't. Of course there's truth to this. On the other hand, sometimes one needs to rest and replenish. Most of us don't have the luxury of writing manuscripts full time and must attend to the stresses of our day jobs as well as the rest of life, and everyone gets crispy now and then.

    I was disappointed that my fantasy of writing on the bay didn't work out the way I'd hoped. Yet, in the end it's clear to me I needed to chill more than I needed to write.

    When I got home I wrote 10 pages in one week with much less time to do it. I think the muse was thanking me for letting her have a vacation too.


  5. I agree with Shelly. My life is a continuing travelogue. I carry a laptop with me and have a destop at home. A memory stick allows me to tranfer updates to my WIP between both computers. While I do work in writing time when we are on vacation, my mind tends to go to mush. Once I get home (and organized) my mind is fresh. I'm more objective and make meaningful progress.