Need Writing Inspiration? Try Travelling

person holding silver compass

Movement is the greatest gift you can give to a stagnant writing mind. No magnitude of internet research can replicate the freedom and inspiration that can be obtained from stepping out into the world beyond your comfort zone.

How To Make The Most of Your Vacation To Improve Your Writing

Over time, you can become too used to the everyday, but traveling the world a little at a time allows you to live in the moment and engage all your senses fully. 

There’s a saying among writers that each scene should include at least two senses. Whether you’re trying an original pasta dish in Italy or preparing your own masa tortillas in Mexico, you’ll be sure to engage at least that many senses. You can even take a day trip to watch Shakespeare in the Park! Your writing will come alive in new ways as you cross literal and metaphorical borders.

Define Then Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Are you guilty of consistently avoiding an activity? Step outside your comfort zone to gain new perspectives and experiences, as well as overcome inner blocks.

Are you afraid of the woods or heights? Start small with a short hike, or attend an indoor rock climbing class. Challenge yourself to overcome a little fear, and you can use your experience to help your characters overcome theirs—not to mention capture the emotional journey of the process.

The smell of coffee and beignets

Engage All of Your Senses

The most common sense that humans use is sight, but our other senses are just as potent. For example, certain smells are strongly linked with memory. Do you remember a favorite childhood recipe your family made for you? What about a cafe with the perfect cup of coffee? Can you smell it now? What do you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear?

If you take a day trip to a riverfront beach, imagine wading in the water and skipping stones across its surface. Can you feel the contrast of the sand between your toes and the warmth of the sun on your skin?

Immerse yourself into a new activity or environment, and engage all of your senses. Become an active participant in your life.

Become an Archaeologist

Tourists have a bad reputation for superficiality and a lack of conscientiousness about their surroundings. Appreciate the details of the world around you. 

Do you know the history of the hotel you’re sleeping in or its cross streets? Are certain smells and colors common to the area? Does the town have any unique festivals or traditions? Where do the locals go? Become an archaeologist and add what you’ve dug up to your own writing.

Get to Know the Characters Around You

How did the couple running the bed and breakfast that you’re staying at meet originally? Each individual has a story as unique as they are—it’s interesting to imagine how the details of the couple’s story would match and somewhat differ in memory. 

What traits do you notice in those around you? Is there a regular who comes into the nearby restaurant at 5:06 p.m. precisely, every single day? Why?

What’s Your Story?

Don’t forget about your perspective. No one sees the world like you do. 

You can keep a travel journal during your stay, even if you aren’t the type to usually journal. It can be as simple as writing down the fragments of your experience, capturing them almost like a Polaroid photo. You can shake out the clarity later. 

Instead of thinking from the perspective of the pen, allow yourself to become the blank page for once. You’ll be surprised by all the ways a change of scene can help you develop the scene in your own writing.

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