Sunday, September 04, 2011

Writing on the Road

I’ve always been a homebody. Mostly it’s because I get all the social interaction I need from my family, my friends at work, and my characters. And of course, many of my passions lie on the home front, like writing, gardening, cooking, and taking photos of the Genesee Valley.

But several of these hobbies are decidedly portable, and writing is one I can do anywhere, as long as I have my trusty MacBook Pro at my side.

If you have a trip coming up and happen to be in the middle of writing a book – don’t despair! Not only do you not have to worry about continuing your story, you might actually find the experience a writing nirvana.

My good friend Mary Emmons suggested I write a piece about it, since I seem to be doing this a lot more lately with the new day job. Here are a few things to consider before you travel.

Whether you’re going to a remote cabin in the woods without Internet, like our new favorite Tall Pines cabin in the Adirondacks we discovered a few years ago that is now my favorite writing place in the world, or whether you’re traveling to Germany or Thailand, like I have done in the past few years, be sure to be prepared.

First of all, safeguard all of your current works before sending yourself and your laptop around the globe. Of course, you should already have a hard drive backup (that you actually USE every day!) and also as a backup to the backup it’s a good idea to enroll in an online service like Carbonite that can keep your files safe in case of a fire or hurricane. And always, always send the finished versions of your manuscripts to a few trusted friends to hold onto. That way they will be saved in your “sent” files of your emailer if you set it up that way. I also send them to myself and save them in a folder on Yahoo just as a extra precaution. I can access them that way from any computer in the world in case of a hard drive crash.

Okay, so now that you know you’re safe whether or not you drop your laptop into the hotel pool, prepare to have access to your laptop while you have all those endless, otherwise boring hours in the airports.

Bring your charger in your online baggage, and if you’re working at the gate waiting for your flight to come in (sometimes this can be hours and hours…), be sure to find a spot where you can top off the battery for the flight.

Some airlines (like my recent flight to Germany on Lufthansa) don’t let you use laptops any more during the flight. In that case, have a good book ready. I keep books loaded on my iPhone (in case they let us use it on “airplane mode”) and also always carry a few paperbacks. Of course, we all know that reading is the best way to get inspired and learn the craft, so I consider this just an extension of my writing. But if you are allowed to power up during the flight, push your seat back as far as you can and get to work!

One of course must develop the ability to block out all the background noise in the airport terminal (it can be brutal!) or on the plane. But with the proper earplugs and focus, you might be able to write a few chapters while zooming across the globe.

Although I get terribly homesick when I’m on an extended trip away from family, I do find the time in the hotel—whether sitting at a breakfast table, by the pool, or in my room—provides some of the best writing time ever.

There are no dogs to let out, no honey-do lists, no gardens to weed, no televisions blaring in the background, no meals to prepare. There’s just that delicious, quiet, beckoning time to delve into my stories and go wild. Honestly, it can be some of the most productive writing time ever. I rarely even turn on the television when I’m at the hotel, because that’s one distraction I don’t need.

How do you write when you travel? Are you a pen and paper kind of writer? Do you imagine your next chapters in your head while relaxing with your eyes closed?

The lesson here is that requisite travel doesn’t have to mess up your writing schedule – it can actually enhance it!

Remember, if you love to write, write like the wind!

Aaron Lazar

Twilight Times Books by Kindle bestselling author Aaron Lazar:

DOUBLE FORTE' (new release 2012)
MAZURKA (2009)



WINNER 2011 Eric Hoffer BEST Book, COMMERCIAL FICTION * GRAND PRIZE FINALIST Eric Hoffer Book Award 2011 * 2X FINALIST Global eBook Awards 2011 * Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place 2011* Winner of Carolyn Howard Johnsons’ 9th Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature 2011 *  Finalist Allbooks Editors Choice Awards 2011 * Preditors&Editors Top 10 Finalist  *   Yolanda Renee's Top Ten Books 2008   *  MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008  * Writers' Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009 & 2010

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