Travelling and writing

For many people writing their book is something they’re ‘going to do’ on their business trip or holiday.

At first this seems like a great idea.

You are less stressed, there’s more down time to think and write, there might be lots of travel time (if you’re planning to head overseas on a plane or you’re on a cruise).

The reality is though, writing when you’re traveling is not that easy and it comes back to the same old thing . . .  making the time to write.

Create a writing routine

I took myself off to the Solomon Islands last year for a week as I needed a break and to focus on finishing a book.  So, I established a routine for my days and stuck to it for the whole time I was away. 7.30am snorkelling with manta rays, 9.30 scuba dive, rest, lunch then 4 hours writing. Every day.

I established a different routine when I was travelling through Iran in 2017. Up at 6am and writing for two hours each morning then 2 hours each late evening.

Writing while travelling actually requires more discipline in many ways as there’s so many other things you could be doing, seeing and experiencing and who knows when you’ll get back to that specific place if ever.

Make sure you have everything you need to start and keep writing

And, on a more practical level, writing while travelling means you have to have access to and/or take whatever computer, documents, books and other reference material you need with you.

The technology trap

You also need to make sure that you’ve got all the converter plugs you’re going to need (usually 2-3 of them as you’ll probably be charging multiple devices). This usually means you’ll have a bag full of computer and charging equipment, cords, a portable hard drive as well as your camera gear.

Find a place to write

Then, you need to find a place to write. I have to say I’ve become an expert at this and thoroughly enjoy the process of finding great places to write. All I need is a chair and a table and I am set. I’ve even been known to move tables and furniture into just the spot I want to sit.

Check your gear

It’s also important to back-up your computer as you travel so you don’t lose anything. When travelling it’s a good idea to take a back-up drive and back-up every other day.

Of course, you need to be careful not to leave or lose your computer in some far-off place. I vividly recall coming back from my trip to Iran. I’d been away for just under 4 weeks and had written a journal on the trip (which I’ve published as a book) as well as some other writing. My computer was always within reach and I was constantly checking I had packed it.

When I arrived home, had my shower I went to get my computer and it wasn’t there.

Where was it? I’d left in the seat pocket of the plane. Panic! It was a Sunday and the airline office wasn’t open. I left panicked messages and mentally started working through getting a new computer. Luckily the airline called me back and within 24 hours I was back out at the airport retrieving my computer. I took a bottle of champagne and some cup cakes out to the admin team who saved me.

Be realistic

So, before you head off travelling with the notion that you’re going to write, make a plan to do it in advance and then stick to it.

And, if you don’t think you have the self discipline to spend 2-4 hours a day writing be realistic about this and perhaps take a couple of books to read instead.