By Palak Tewary
Travelling is all about exploring new (and old) destinations, immersing oneself in diverse cultures and creating lasting memories. While it’s a truly transformative and exhilarating experience for writers, there is a risk of not being able to maintain a writing routine.
I love to travel and summer is usually earmarked for various trips. I’ve found the following tips helpful in keeping up with my writing practice.
- Firstly, I set realistic goals. I take my itinerary, work out what available time I would have and what my energy levels would be like and set a commitment to write daily for the pre-set time. It could even be a daily word count, a number of pages or a certain duration. Achievable goals mean that I don’t set myself up for being overwhelmed by unrealistic expectations of myself.
- I have a portable travelling kit. This includes a small notebook, a pen and my phone. I carry these with me where I go. Depending on what you prefer, this could include a tablet, an iPad, a laptop or compact journal. In addition, I bring along any maps, guides, research material, etc. that may assist me. Having this kit means I’m always ready to capture my thoughts when inspiration strikes.
- Travelling is a joy. I find myself capturing reflections from the place I am at and letting the words flow freely. Each day, I’m writing about experiences, observations, people met, surprises encountered and flavours tasted. Capturing the essence of a place means I’m building a reservoir of ideas for the future, as well as keeping my writing practice going.
- In today’s world, technology is a valuable tool. I use my phone’s ‘Notes’ app to jot down my thoughts and there are now note-taking applications as well as cloud-based platforms. Tools such as detachable keyboards can be used to jot down ideas and organise our writing. Also, the voice-to-text feature is useful for hands-free writing while on the move. PS: Always carry a portable charger to ensure all the devices remain powered up.
- This might seem odd, but photography has been my writing’s best friend. By capturing amazing encounters and serving as visual prompts for my words, photographs help me to recall vivid details, emotions and experiences. So, take pictures when you travel; as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, creating a truly immersive writing experience.
- There’s always some downtime when we travel. During flight waiting times, on train rides, while on the flight. These moments can either be dedicated to writing or reading. Writers should also be readers, so I always carry books or e-books and use these pockets of time to inspire my creativity.
- Local ambience makes for very encouraging writing spaces: cafes, libraries, parks, beaches, mountains or benches spewed on the pavements can breathe new life into the words we write. These unique spaces allow us to find solace and focus.
- Consistency is key, so find a time and place where you can regularly write undisturbed. I set a similar time of the day – either at the end of the day or at the beginning – to do a writing-related task.
- Joining a writing group – online or on social media to connect with fellow writers who understand the challenges of writing when travelling – provides both support and accountability.
- Sometimes I participate in writing challenges or prompts designed for travellers. These stimulate the imagination and encourage regular writing in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Travel also allows me to experiment with different styles, especially within poetry. As I’m having a new experience each day, I feel this adds to that, allowing me to step out of my comfort zone.
- Finally, remember travelling requires adaptability. Embrace unexpected changes and be flexible. Be kind to yourself if you cannot follow your agenda and allow yourself the freedom to explore and soak up experiences and let them enrich your writing when you have a chance to put pen to paper.
Writing is a creative outlet, allowing us to express ourselves, capturing the essence of our experiences. Travelling should enhance it with new experiences and perspectives, not hinder it. So, pack your bags, embark on your travels, and let your writing flourish on the road!
© Palak Tewary, 2023
Connect with Palak Tewary on palaktewary.com or through Twitter & Instagram: @palaktewary
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Capturing the essence of a place means I'm building a reservoir of ideas for the future, as well as keeping my writing practice going.