Writer’s Travel Kit

by Emerian Rich

Writer’s Travel Kit

The season has come for trips. Whether you’re going camping, to the beach, a wedding, or to visit the in-laws, you’re going to need some author supplies with you. Now, you may choose to have all these tools in one device like your iPad or Kindle Fire, but for me, I must have backups just in case. You’ll want to be prepared especially if your vacation buddies tend to be the “nature-folk” who love places with no cell service and no electrical outlets. Now, I’m not a roughing-it type of gal, but every so often I will find myself in a circumstance that calls for emergency supplies. In this case, emergency means something to do so I’m not driven insane from boredom.

0724141342Here is my Writer’s Travel Kit. I’ve found, if I have these three things, I’m ready for anything.

1. Reading

A relaxing vacation is the perfect time for authors to catch-up on all that reading they don’t normally have the time to do. If you’re like me, I’m awake in bed long after my comrades have zonked out for the night. It must be all that rushing energy that just doesn’t let me wind down as quickly. Having a book (or Kindle on my phone) to read at night helps me relax and fall to sleep naturally in an unfamiliar bed or (God forbid) campsite.

2. Editing or reviewing

A lot of times at family functions, you can’t necessarily pull out a notebook and start writing while the rest of the crew is watching the soccer game. Although most of us have gotten used to writing anywhere, no matter how much noise goes on around us, it’s still hard to concentrate on world building and character creation when someone next to you keeps yelling, “GOAL!” Editing is a good way to pass time in a situation where you might not be able to concentrate on the story. In fact, you might even catch more typos because you aren’t paying attention to the story, but more to the content. It’s also really easy to stash away and come back to later, in case the game becomes more interesting or you find a twin soul who also hates sports to chat with.

3. Your current writing

If you’re like me… no matter how many projects you have going or editing or final proofing, you still have something creative you are working on. For me, my escape from the monotonous editing job is being able to switch gears and create something new when I accomplish a set goal. I’ll tell myself, “Okay… you can take a break and write on the new story, IF you finish ten pages of edit inputs.” It’s an incentive that works every time with me because I’d much rather be creating something new than rehashing the same old crap. I write all my new works in thin Japanese-style notebooks or mini-books so they are easy to bring with. The mini-books are especially helpful if you are travelling. They can easily be slipped in your purse or pocket and come out when you get the slightest bit bored. Like when your cousins are all checking their emails at dinner or you’re sitting through the eighth wedding song preformed by Uncle Harry who wanted to be an opera star. Since the mini-notebooks are little, most won’t notice and if they do, they’ll just thinking you’re writing a note about something so you don’t forget.

4. Idea book

I’ve added this one recently because of two situations that came up while travelling. First, I was sitting in a very boring lecture, at the back of the room, couldn’t see the front because too many tall people in front of me, and couldn’t hear the presenters because they had no mics and I am going deaf. I pulled out my little writing book and sat there, my pen hovering over the paper… no ideas, no even hint of a clue of what to write about. Perhaps it was the business of the day or the meeting topic, but my creative juices just wouldn’t flow. Had I had my idea book, I could have just opened it and wham… a short story done in an afternoon. Second, I was travelling with some friends to a place I’d never been and for whatever reason, my creative mind was pumping that day. I had 12-15 ideas in the span of a bus ride. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought anything to write on. If I had my idea book with me, I could have jot down at least a few of them and been a Pulitzer Prize winner by now!

5. Samples/Cards

You never know who you’re going to run into that might be a potential business contact or reader. For those of you who are already published, always keep a book or two in the back of your car. If you have the wherewithal to bring a dozen, bring them. You never know if you’ll be sitting on the beach with your cousins when one of them will say, “I wish I brought something to read. You are so smart bringing a book.” A captive, bored audience, thirsting for some sort of entertainment is the perfect way to introduce your work to someone who might not normally try it out. Also, trips are times when you might meet random people and never see them again. The next time you hit it off with a stranger, have your cards available. Tell them how much you enjoyed talking and hand them a business card.

Bringing writer supplies is important. If you are published, there is never a better time to start that new novel than in an unusual setting. If you aren’t published, bringing them will remind you of what your goals are. Have fun, take pictures, and celebrate your creative nature by trying things you might not usually do. When you’re a writer, simply living is research. Have fun doing it!