Travel introduces you to new settings and people and makes writing a challenge. It's great for writers—you get so much more to write about—and scary if you are a stay-at-home introvert like me. Travel disrupts writing habits and routines, making it hard to get words written and meet goals. There are some things you can do to keep a basic foundation of your creative routine.
To start with—give yourself a break! Shift your expectations for your writing while you're traveling. Say you've got a writing streak going and you don't want to break that because of a trip. Great, but scale back the number of words you plan to write. Keep the streak but set an easier goal to reach during the trip.
Take a careful look at your agenda and identify the times for writing. Here too you probably need to scale back expectations. Find fifteen minutes when you can write. Maybe that's all the time you'll have but it lets you move the needle.
Keep a journal and jot down notes as you see things. If you enjoy sketching, try to quickly capture some of the details of your environment. Just find those pockets of time when you can indulge your creativity.
Find fifteen minutes when you can write.
While traveling it's also important to keep up routines important for your physical and mental health. Stress doesn't make it easier to keep writing. If you meditate regularly, keep doing that. Take your vitamins. If you exercise, find some time to exercise. Just as with your writing, you might need to dial back your expectations but keep some basic level of health maintenance.
I always have something with me to read. Frequently I have several options ranging from devices like my Kindle or phone to print books. Plus I always have something for writing or drawing. I can sketch, I can work on my novel or stories, and I have notebooks I can use for planning. With so many options available it is easy to hide behind my devices and books and miss the chance to interact with other people.
Try going out without all of those security blankets (I'm working on this). Take in the environment around you. Talk to people. You might need to seek out some solitude later, but you'll benefit from engaging with the world and the people you meet.
Just because you're around other people doesn't mean that you're the one that has to talk. Ask people questions and let them do more of the talking. Really listen. Be curious about the people you meet and their stories. One of the best things you can do for someone is genuinely listening to them. As a side benefit, you'll learn more about other people which will always help you improve your work. If you are around other writers, ask them about their writing journey and business. You may pick up great ideas!
I tend to find travel stressful. Keeping these points in mind helps me make the most of the opportunity and keep writing without getting too stressed out.
Ryan M. Williams lives a double life as a full-time career librarian and a multi-genre writer with over twenty books. He writes across a range of genres including science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, mystery, horror, and romance. He earned a Master of Arts degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose University. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Pocket Books, WMG Publishing, and in On Spec Magazine.