Vacationing and the Writing Journey
by Steph Beth Nickel
Are you traveling this summer?
Are you looking forward to the journey or only arriving at the destination?
How is vacationing like the writing journey?
We aren’t planning any big trips this year, but I realized on our way to Frankenmuth for a couple of days that I had a choice. I could enjoy the journey or merely endure it.
Writing is a little like planning and executing a vacation.
Decide on a Destination
Unless you’re hopping in the car and seeing where the road takes you, you likely have a destination in mind.
The same should be true when writing. Are you planning to write a book? An article for Medium? A blog post?
Set a Timeline for Each Leg of the Journey
Life happens. Something may come up to deter you from your schedule. However, it’s important to at least have a schedule to keep you on track. (You don’t want to find out the day before you leave for the airport that you should have renewed your passport.)
It’s important to be kind to yourself. Set an achievable pre-journey itinerary, but don’t be so “kind” that you leave everything to the last minute and consider giving up on the idea altogether.
This year I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo—and, shock of shocks, I edited my manuscript well ahead of schedule. There are several more steps to take before the book is available, but now I know I can actually git ’er done. Now to set a timeline for the next steps.
Gather What You Need
Clothes? Check. Camera? Check. Toiletries? Check. Tickets and reservations? Check. Aforementioned passport? Check.
Gathering what you need for your writing journey can simply mean grabbing a pen and notepad or your phone with its note-taking app, finding an inspiring location to write, and getting at it. Or it may need a reliable internet connection and months of research.
Whichever it is, commit to it and get started.
You won’t get any closer to your destination if you gather what you need, pack it in the car, and sit in the driveway.
It may be exciting—or a little scary—to start out on a new journey. But the only way to reach your destination is to set off.
Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard (thumbs to phone screen?) and begin.
“Once upon a time …”
Recalculate When Necessary
You may find you made a wrong turn or missed the cut-off. But just like the old GPS units used to say, “Recalculating.”
You wouldn’t abandon your idea for a vacation because you had to do some backtracking and recalculating to find your way.
Don’t abandon your idea if the road to publication gets a little bumpy or if you have to find your way through unfamiliar territory.
Ask for Help
When planning your trip, you may hop online to get inspiration or check out customer reviews of accommodations and tourist attractions.
If you get lost (on the road or in the airport), you may have to check with someone in the know.
Even after you reach your destination, you will likely count on dozens of other people to make the trip a success.
Granted, writing is, in many ways, a solitary endeavour, but “no [writer] is an island.”
Writers rely on countless others on the journey from the first spark of an idea to published work—and beyond. Those people may include beta readers, editors, proofreaders, marketing pros, web designers, and many others.
Celebrate Your Arrival
“We’re here!” to a traveler is as amazing as “The End” is to a writer.
Touching down on the tarmac or penning those satisfying words isn’t really the end of the journey. But it is well worth taking at least a few minutes to do a happy dance—literal or figurative.
You may have a detailed itinerary in hand, but it’s good to check on reservations and make sure everything is in order. On most trips, adjustments have to be made.
When it comes to releasing a book or publishing a blog post, adjustments may be in order. Or, possibly, if you’re new to the process—or have just been too busy with other things, you may have to create that website, research traditional and indie publishing options, find out how to get your work in front of readers.
Begin Planning for the Next Journey
It took about five minutes before I started planning our next trip to Newfoundland when we were there last summer. Since our son and daughter-in-law live in Scotland, I thought it would be a wonderful location for a family gathering. They wouldn’t feel like they’d left home—except, of course, for the hours of travel and the money spent.
Even if you’ve arrived at your writing destination, you likely have plans for several other projects. While you want to relax for a while and enjoy the moment, you just may want to grab that note-taking device and outline the next journey.
Wherever you are along the way, take a deep breath, and marvel at the fact that yes, you are a writer. And it’s one of the most exciting journeys you’ll ever take!
How is vacationing like the writing journey? [click to tweet]
9 ways travelling is like the writing journey. [click to tweet]
“We’re here!” to a traveler is as amazing as “The End” is to a writer. [click to tweet]
Take a deep breath, and marvel at the fact that yes, you are a writer. And it’s one of the most exciting journeys you’ll ever take! [click to tweet]
Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.