My boyfriend and I took a trip to Denver this past week. He was sent here on a work conference, and we decided to stay in town for a few days after the conference ended to turn the trip into a vacation. While he has already flown home since he booked his flight separately through his company, I had to stay a little later to catch my flight . . . which I ended up missing yesterday morning.
While I was not ecstatic to have to wait another day to fly home, I have been using this opportunity to get some writing done, including writing this post.
I had not planned to do much writing at all on vacation to be honest. I even left behind my bulky circa 2013 laptop because I was being cheap and didn’t want to pay for a carry-on bag. I did, however, listen to Sarah Werner’s Write Now podcast episode Tips for Writing While Traveling before my flight (in the event I was struck with inspiration during my journey).
In case you haven’t listened to Werner’s podcast before, it is phenomenal. I have listened to nearly every Write Now episode, and as with the others, Tips for Writing While Traveling provided practical advice and guidance. As she points out in the episode, traveling writers can forgo the heavy typewriters/laptops in lieu of simple pen and paper, so I did shove my notebook into my purse just in case.
It turns out I was fortunate to have done so. While I have never been able to focus on writing while traveling in the past, this time, I found myself making time for it in a multitude of places. If I had to guess a reason for my newfound ability to switch into writing mode at the drop of a hat, I would say it is the result of habitually writing in the last two years. This dedication is something I am proud of, as I only recently made writing a priority.
I found that it was much easier for me to identify opportunities to squeeze in a little writing work. When I refer to “writing work,” I mean writing, editing, outlining, brainstorming, journaling, etc. Here is a list of writing opportunities that presented themselves while I was heading to, traveling in, and leaving Denver.
The Flight from Home
During the airplane ride from my home to Denver, I had my notebook and a pen in my purse which was stowed under the seat in front of me. I avoided the awkward climbing-over-passengers maneuver to reach the overhead bin this way. After takeoff, I was able to reach for my notebook and use the tiny little desk on the back of the seat ahead of me. In this way, I succeeded in outlining an entire blog post.
During my flight, I also used the time to develop a list of writing tasks I needed to complete. This list included deadlines for both writing and editing articles and setting dates for meeting with my local writing group. Defining this schedule helped me get a sense of my priorities for when I returned home. I also did this to prevent myself from using the excuse “I don’t know where to start in my writing” when I settled in back home.
In the Hotel
My situation this trip was different from my traveling experiences in the past. Since Alex was there part of the time for work, that left me more alone time than normal on vacation. I used the time he needed to work in the hotel room as a chance for me to work as well – only on the work I do for free, writing.
While I didn’t have my laptop with me, I did use the mobile version of WordPress to type up, revise, and publish a blog post. I do prefer to access WordPress through a computer, but the mobile version is surprisingly easy to use in a pinch.
I wouldn’t normally stay inside a hotel room on vacation, but since my partner needed to for his job, it worked out perfectly for my writing schedule. Free hotel WiFi is also a great (and convenient) plus!
Waiting for the Airport Shuttle
The hotel I stayed in for my last night in Denver offered an airport shuttle service to take me to my flight back home. While I was waiting for the shuttle in the downstairs lobby, I found the time to edit two articles for the non-profit I am volunteering for (The MindReset).
This free time would have been spent flipping through my phone anyway had I not spent it editing. Turning it into an opportunity to work on writing was a way for me to kill time and to keep up my writing habit.
While Touring the City
I will clarify this subheading by stating I did not write as I was walking wandering the city blocks or making my way up to Pike’s Peak. However, I did drag Alex to a bookstore called Tattered Cover, which is apparently a landmark around here.
The store is beautiful on both the outside and inside and has a very welcoming environment. I was happy to see people of every age and background perusing the shelves that were stocked with both new and used books. A side note is that this store was the only bookstore I can recall that shelved used books in with the new, which I loved.
I count my book-shopping time as writing related because it gave me the chance to see which books are popular at the moment. I also glanced at the bookstore’s calendar of events, and Ian McEwan is due to stop there in the coming weeks, along with several other writers. This visit helped me get a feel for the Denver “writing scene” which seems busy, judging by some of the big name authors dropping in.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of writing I managed to do in my week away from my laptop. This trip was a wonderful reminder that writing doesn’t have to be a big formal event for me, and I don’t even need to type to get into the flow of things.
Have you managed to write while traveling? I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section, or feel free to shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thanks for reading and happy writing!