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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Discipline on the Road

My calendar for the next two months looks like a toddler took a pen and started doodling in all of the free space. I will be criss-crossing back and forth across America through mid-September and I have a serious dilemma: I am no good at working on the road.

Now, this being said, I did manage to write about 5,000 words while at Taos. But that was for a writer's workshop. So, I kind of had to.

But of all the trips I am making this summer, only one is writing related.

Part of my concern rests on the fact that I have only just developed a solid routine at home. Well, solid-ish. A bit like pudding, actually. So how am I supposed to motivate myself when I'm in a new and exciting place? Other writers must do this. In fact, I know they do. There's a whole genre dedicated to writing while traveling.

So what's my hang up? Is it just the lack of routine? Is it the draw of something new and shiny?

Does anyone have any tips for buckling down and getting work done while on the road?


  1. It depends on if you see your time away from the writing desk as vacation or a working trip.

    For a vacation, write if the mood strikes. After all, our job is FUN and the Best Damn Job In The World.

    For a working trip, set a reduced daily word count and set aside time to do it. If you normally write in the mornings, stick to that either by getting up earlier or scheduling your events around that time. Same with afternoons, either write later or schedule. If scheduling is impossible, then you'll just have to be flexible, alas.

    I've found that a lot of my routine is actually thinly-disguised cat waxing. Facebook. Twitter. Gmail. Forums. The Blogosphere. Etc. When you're out of town, it's a good time to cast aside all that foolishness. After all, most phones will let you check all that while you're at/doing wherever/whatever you took the trip to/for in the first place.

    Anyway, a couple of thoughts. Give it a try. :)

  2. I rarely write while I'm traveling. I know that's not very helpful but there it is. I try to allow for vacations in my working schedule. So for instance, if I estimate it will take me 12 weeks to write a novel, but I'll be gone 2 weeks in the middle of that, I add 2 weeks to my final due date. Of course, if you have real deadlines imposed by the outer world, this might not work quite as well.

  3. Apparently I can't even blog while on vacation, haha. I'm going to have to buckle down and come up with some manageable ground rules for my next trip.

    I really like your suggestion, too, Amy - always plan ahead!