Cold weather clothes, check.
Hiking boots, check.
Maps of northern Arizona, southern Utah, check.
The trip will be a new experience for me; I won't have my family with me for much of it. Also, I won't be in true vacation mode since I'll be working at an animal sanctuary. But when I'm not walking dogs or cleaning cages, I'll be back in my rented room, working on a new manuscript.
I'm not fooling myself this time. On previous trips, I've pack my laptop, notebooks (yes, multiple), writing pens, craft-related books and magazines, and the novel I was reading and another I hoped to read. After each of these trips, I came home to realize I haven't read those books. I haven't filled a fraction of pages I'd hope to with new writing. And my laptop was used more for Googling directions and making reservations than for crafting stories. The vacations were great, but not productive in terms of physical writing. My ambitions were too broad and unfocused.
This time the expectations are simpler and more defined. Traveling with a manuscript means making a plan. I've found it hard to write new material when I'm away from home unless I give myself specific writing prompts to work on while I'm away. Here are a few examples of prompts I may work on:
- Write the scene where my MC meets her love interest for the first time.
- Describe the MC's style and her favorite outfit.
- Write a conversation the MC has with her best friend when she discovers she's been tricked.
- Write about an encounter the MC has with another passenger on the train.
I'll also be collecting story props - brochures, post cards, train schedules, maps, etc - of things to help me visualize my characters and scenes. Back at home, these props sometimes offer more of a multi-dimensional sense of place than a journal entry. Last year I collected hand-painted notecards of the landscape, a menu from an historic hotel (a setting for my WIP), and a floor plan of a local art coop. How will these things help my story? Well, even if these details don't end up in the actual story, they trigger memories, the sights, smells, and sounds, of a particular place.
This plan isn't overly-ambitious; it's broken into small , doable chunks. I'm pretty confident it will work for me.
Writing plan, check.
If you write while on vacation, how productive are you? What do you do to make the most of your writing time?