If there’s anything I miss about school, it’s the amount that I wrote. If you major in anything related to English, Journalism, Creative Writing, or Communication in university, you’re practically guaranteed to write. A TON.
And up until this year, my three years in university had been the most productive period of my life. I was writing almost constantly (I guess being Editor in Chief of the newspaper and taking a ton of writing electives would do that).
I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, but it wasn’t until I started The Lexicon Writing Blog that I actually starting writing frequently again. I started TLWB mostly so I’d have an excuse to write every week! But here we are, a year and a half later and not only has this blog taken off in ways I never expected, but I’m also writing more than ever.
My husband and I are traveling to Boston this week, and we’re pretty much over the moon. We’ve been told by multiple people that it’s the perfect city for two book-loving, art-appreciating, foodie nerds such as us.
And of course, because I can’t ever get writing out of my head, I immediately started thinking about what can I endeavor to learn on this trip that will make me a better writer.
Traveling is one of the best ways to improve your writing, for a few simple reasons:
You learn new things
You get to think differently than normal
You get to do a different routine than normal
You’re constantly aware of where you are and what you’re doing
When you’re constantly seeing new things, experiencing new places and people, and challenging yourself to think and search and be in new ways, you’re fine tuning your senses. You’re building an arsenal of experiences and feelings that you can pull from in your writing, making your descriptions more vivid, your characters three dimensional, and your plots more interesting.
And the simplest reason is when you travel, you improve yourself. And your writing is closely connected to who you are. The more you travel, the more you learn, not just about the world at large, but about yourself too. And that makes you a better writer.
I’m sharing the top three things I’ll do when I travel to improve my writing.
Keep a Notebook With Me
This should just be the first rule of being a writer… if we had rules, anyway. I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it until I’m blue in the face: carrying a notebook with you can be a lifesaver. I’ve written about inspiration before in this post, and my first tip is to write it down! Even if you think you’ll never use it or you’ll never expand on it, write it down, whatever it is.
I don’t think I need to explain why this is so important, but you’ll never remember a blip of inspiration if you don’t write it down. I like to use a notebook because I’m old school and the tactile act of handwriting it helps it retain in my memory. You could use the notes app on your phone or send yourself an email. Whatever works.
I Won’t Write Unless I Get the Urge
This sounds kinda weird coming from the girl who is always telling you to get writing. I know. But hear me out.
Vacations are meant to relax you, pull you out of your normal routine, and rejuvenate you. I write somewhere between several hundred and several thousand words a day, so occasionally, I need a mental break.
The more I write, the more I find myself needing to be very intentional about separating my “two worlds”: my writing world and my real life. I can easily get cause up in whatever story I’m writing. I joke with my husband that my head is “still in the world”. I can easily become less present in my day-to-day life when I’m writing so much.
And this isn’t great for either of my worlds. I can get too caught up in trees rather than the forest in the writing and I’m not fully engaged with the people I want to be spending my time and energy on. On vacation, unless I feel that nagging need in my chest to go write, I’m going to take a break and let myself stay present.
Let Myself Be Inspired
It can be so easy to get wrapped up in whatever my current project it. I’m aiming to let myself be inspired by artwork, architecture, history, and music on my vacation. Allowing yourself to let other sources of beauty touch you and influence you will give you energy, enlightenment, and inspiration in spades.
You won’t be able to stop writing once you get home.
I write about self-care for writers a ton on this blog, because I believe it’s one of the most important things we can do. The more we take care of ourselves, the more we can become better writers.
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You’ll see me say this over and over again: the more you write, the more you’ll improve. I encourage writing every day because writing is a lot like working out, eating healthy, or self-care: Consistency is key. As long you can get to your computer to write every day, even for five minutes, you’ll be helping your writing by leaps and bounds.
But I get it. Writing every single day can be really hard, especially when you have vacations, balancing schedules of kids and spouses, seeing family and friends, and other commitments to balance. Finding five minutes to brush your teeth can be hard!
Most writers would say they want to be able to write every day. Whether that’s working on their novels, their memoirs, their fanfics, whatever, I think most of us could agree that writing all the time is the ultimate bliss.
But, like anything, writing every day has a shadow side: burnout. Continue Reading
I started the Lexicon Writing Blog a year ago with one main goal: I wanted to get myself writing again. It occurred to me that I could write about writing, so over a few months, the idea of the Lexicon Writing Blog rolled around in my head until May 21, 2016, when I pressed publish on the blog’s first ever post: May’s Writing Prompts.
Little did I know what was in store for me once I pushed that button. Continue Reading
Ah, inspiration. The unicorn-like state every writer craves for intense writing and motivation. It’s hard to chase and even harder to catch. Especially if you’re suffering from any number of writerly hang-ups.