Guest Writers / Tips

Have pen, will travel: Tips for writing on the road


Summer is the season of relaxation and vacations. If you take advantage of your opportunities to travel, it can also be the season to produce some great writing. Whether you’re going abroad or just to the next town, you are bound to encounter something that will benefit your writing.

travel writing

Flickr: waferboard

Here are a few tips for writing on the road:

Keep a Pen and Notebook with You

There’s nothing like writing on real paper. Sure, you can make notes on your phone, but it’s not the same. While you’re on vacation, take some time to disconnect from technology. Even if you just write general ideas down on paper, it will help when you sit down to get some serious writing done later. Besides, you never know when a brilliant idea will come to you. Invest in a pocket-sized, hardcover notebook. You can slip it in your back pocket or keep it in a purse, and the cover will protect it from daily wear and tear. Then, if a great line of poetry or plot point comes to you, you can write it down and never forget it.

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See new sights! Sit next to a creek or inside a museum. Eat at a restaurant you would normally never try. Having new and interesting experiences is essential for all writers. If you’re doing a solitary activity, take that time to do some free writing. If you’re not in the proper setting to disconnect from the world, that’s OK too. You don’t necessarily have to be writing or thinking about writing in the moment. Just make sure to soak up the surrounding environment.

Talk to People

If you’re an introvert like I am, this is super difficult to do. However, it’s a great way to get material to write about. Every person you meet and talk to is unique and has the potential to teach you something new. Be sure to listen to their story.

Read: Better listening for better writing

Keep a Travel Journal

After returning home from a great trip, it can be difficult to remember everything you did while on vacation. Keeping a travel journal will fix that problem. At the end of every day, take a few minutes to make a list of everything you did during the day. If something particularly fascinating happened to you, go into greater detail about that. Who knows, maybe it can turn into a story.

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A clear, calm mind is great for writing. Make sure to relax on your trip so that you will have plenty of mental energy to focus on your writing. It’s important to not feel pressured to write. Just by traveling, even if you’re not in the mood to write, you will be subconsciously processing everything through your writer’s mind. Then, when you’re ready to write, you will have plenty of material to help you produce something fantastic.

Traveling can be a great opportunity to take your writing to the next level. As writers, we need to have new and interesting experiences to gather material for our work. It doesn’t matter if you write prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction: visiting somewhere new will change your writing.

What do you think of these tips? Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments. Happy writing!

Lexi Bollis is a student at Kenyon College pursuing an English major with an emphasis in Creative Writing and a double minor in Music and Mathematics. You can find her other writing at Her Campus Kenyon and Geek Insider.

Lexi Bollis

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