Writing on the Road: Keeping Up With Your Writing Goals While Traveling

When you’re traveling, it’s easy to neglect your goals and good habits, and getting back on track is often a challenge. While everyone struggles with maintaining progress during a trip, there’s no reason to lose sight of your writing goals because writing on the road can be a fantastic vacation experience. Traveling is an opportunity for a change of pace and for gaining new experiences to incorporate into your work. Think of your trip as a chance to have a special writing experience

If you’re a writer, stay on track during your trip by planning ahead and reframing the way you think about your goal. Before you jet off, prepare yourself to write as part of your trip, not in spite of it. Think of the time you spend writing as a vacation treat, rather than an obligation. If you’re not sure how to make writing work for your vacation, consider these opportunities:

Write While You’re En Route to/from Your Destination

This one seems obvious, but were you going to do it? Instead of packing books, magazines, or an in-flight movie, bring your laptop or the piece you’re editing. The time you spend in the car or on the plane is perfect for writing, especially if you have a long trip ahead because then you can spend an hour writing and then the rest of the time engaged in another activity, such as reading or car games. If you have a layover, then that might be the perfect time to find a perch and some coffee for a writing session. How cool would it be to write beside one of those big terminal windows?

Choose a Good Writing Spot as One of Your Destinations

Your vacation spot likely has a popular coffee house, ice cream shop, or museum that offers prime writing space. Why not check it out? Often, these are places you’d want to visit anyway.  (Personally, I’m a big fan of coffee shops and always look for a special place to sample while I’m in a new city.) Bring your laptop or notebook and spend an hour writing in a different locale than usual. You can even use your phone if you don’t want to lug around a heavy bag. While you get in your writing time, your family or friends can experience the atmosphere of the space or they can do a nearby activity. Either way, you’ll all have a pleasant new vacation experience.

Write at the Beach, on a Balcony, or at a Landmark

Imagine writing a short story in the shadow of the Alamo or while stretched out under a beach umbrella. Switch up your routine by writing at one of your travel destinations. This can be a particularly useful tactic if you’re traveling with others who simply want to enjoy the sights around the area. Writing somewhere special could make a unique travel memory that you think back to for years to come. It could even inspire you to look for similar writing spots when you get home.

Get Inspired by the Location

Why not write something about the place you’re visiting? You could write a travelogue, a poem inspired by the locale, or incorporate details about the place into your work in progress. For example, the restaurant you choose might make a great location for a scene in your novel, or the museum you visit could make a great write-up for a travel website. Treat your trip as an opportunity to gain new experiences that you can incorporate into your writing.

Steal a Quiet Moment in the Morning or Evening

Early in the morning and late at night are both common times to get in some writing while others are busy sleeping or relaxing. When you’re on vacation, spend thirty minutes to an hour writing while everyone sleeps in or watches a late-night movie on cable. Make the most of your hotel by taking your laptop out onto the balcony, heading down to the lobby, or setting up in a nearby eatery.

Writing in small amounts over the course of your trip will flex your writer muscles and keep you on track. Plus, you’ll likely see the influence of being in a new place in your work, which can be a nice change of pace. Your trip will be both productive and memorable. Not only will you get your writing done and make vacation memories, but you’ll also gain the experience of being the mysterious writer at all of the places you visit.

How do you incorporate writing into your vacations?

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