Finding Time to Write While On The Road

Finding time to write while traveling
30 October 2010 Post Author:
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For most travel writers, finding the time to write while on the road is a challenge.

Everything is a distraction – the excitement of going to a new place, meeting new friends, experiencing a culture different from your own.

If you’re on one of those media tours where the publicist drags you to every must-see site, restaurants and bars, you end up too exhausted to write down even the first few paragraphs of the story that you must send to your editor the next day.

But this need not be a problem, as there are some small things that you can do to squeeze in some writing time while traveling.

1. ) Take notes: Keep a notebook (small enough to put on your pocket or handbag) and a pen and take notes. Jot down a short description of the place you’re at, the highlights of the interview you’re conducting, the recipe of that carrot cake that you ate in a cafe recommended by your friend. Bring a camera (no need for a DSLR, even a camera phone will do) and take photos. Also have an envelope handy to keep the plane tickets, museum pass and business cards. Documenting your tour will save you some research time later, giving you more time to write.

2. Stop waiting, start writing: Traveling involves a lot of hours waiting – for the airplane to arrive, for the bus to get filled with passengers, for the waiter to serve your meal, for the press conference to start. Use this waiting time to do some writing – it doesn’t matter if you can only pen a couple of paragraphs. These paragraphs that you write will end up as full story after converting more of this waiting time into writing time.

3. Set up a writing routine: I recommend this to writers who need to travel over a long period of time. Include at least 30 minutes of writing time in your daily schedule, no matter what, no matter where. This will help you build your story (or novel) one day at a time.

4. Figure out your story angle and stick to it: Why did you go this place? What is it that you’re writing about? Is this a hotel review? A food and culture story? An account of your trek in the Himalayas? By determining your story angle, you can simplify your itinerary, put in more writing time and develop a tight and focused story that will resonate well with your readers.

5. Learn to say “no”: You don’t have to attend to each and every event. You do not need to eat in every restaurant recommended by a friend/celebrity chef/guidebook. You don’t need to go any of these ruins, museums or temples just because the guide/publicist/know-it-all colleague told you to go there. Have your own travel plan, do only what you think will enhance your story and ditch any invite that will just waste your time and energy.

~ Prime

How do you find time to write while traveling? Share your tips!

12 Responses to “Finding Time to Write While On The Road”

  1. Tran
    Twitter:
    says:

    Agree completely with #2. Long bus hauls are a great time to get good writing in.

  2. Excellent advice, Prime! I prefer writing my notes, but I also use a small voice recorder for those times when you just can’t write, like when you’re in a vehicle at night (or on a bumpy road!) :-)

    Great tips!

  3. Maria Staal
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great tips to get writing right away! I agree that #2 is a good one.
    I have tried writing on busses, but it’s often so bumpy that I can’t read my writing anymore by the time a get home… I keep trying, though. :)

    • Prime
      Twitter:
      says:

      @Maria Staal “I have tried writing on busses, but it’s often so bumpy that I can’t read my writing anymore by the time a get home” — hi Maria, try writing while stuck in a traffic jam (there’s alot of that in most Asian cities). Otherwise just enjoy the view and feed your senses

      As for me, I have such a bad penmanship that sometimes I can’t even reading my notes even if I wrote them in a table in a bus terminal! :)

  4. i kill the proverbial two birds with one stone when it comes to writing on the road. I usually send long emails to friends every night recapping the interesting things of the day. I also attach a couple of the best photos I took that day. These are great reminders of what was really important when I get home and ready to write.

  5. Great tips especially about taking note. I have never been successful at blogging during the trip especially with my family vacation. But having a notebook does help in putting my thought and idea into the blog.

    Another tips I use a lot during my trip is using my photos as a journal. Looking through my pictures help me with writing a blog post from the trip.
    .-= Amy @ The Q Family´s last blog post: Chiang Mai with Kids- The Road Trip to Chiang Mai &amp Odd Things You Will See =-.

  6. ayngelina
    Twitter:
    says:

    I sometimes procrastinate and it never works so when I have time I write when thoughts come to me. A lot of time it’s in a back page of my journal so I capture whatever I think is brilliant at the time and can fix later on.

    I find if I can just get the free flow out, 50% of the work is done and I can worry about the style later.
    .-= ayngelina´s last blog post: Dia de Los Muertos =-.

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  2. [...] In my latest guest post at Travel Writer’s Exchange, I listed several ways on how to squeeze in some writing time while traveling. Check it out! [...]

  3. [...] In my latest guest post at Travel Writer’s Exchange, I lis­ted sev­eral ways on how to squeeze in some writ­ing time while trav­el­ing. Check it out! [...]

  4. [...] of it that sometimes, you forget why you’re there in the first place. To write of course! In my latest guest post at Travel Writer’s Exchange, I listed several ways on how to squeeze in some writing time while traveling. Check it out!Related [...]

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