As we head into summer, many of us are going to get outdoors more, take vacations, and spend more time away from our desks and thus our computers.
But as writers this often proves problematic since we still have deadlines and our brains rarely shut off just because it isn’t convenient to write.
But have no fear, here are ten ways you can keep writing even when you are away from home.
1. These days, almost everyone has a cellphone. We keep them within hands reach almost every waking hour. When writing on the go they are a great tool. Standing in line with three carts in front of you at the grocery store? Avoid those last minute impulse buys and pull out your cellphone and text yourself a few lines. If you’re good at texting and have an idea you can write quite a bit in those few minutes.
2. If you have a smartphone then look for a great writing app. Some will turn your handwriting into text and others are actual text programs. Either way, they are good options for those moments when you are taking a 10 minute break or are waiting to pick your kids up and want to write. Some you can even email back to yourself or will connect with programs like GoogleDocs so you can quickly put them back into your WIP.
3. Not great at texting, but still want to utilize your phone? Leave yourself a voicemail. Do you have a Bluetooth headset? Even better. Now you can think out loud while you take a hike, run errands, or just about any activity that isn’t in a loud atmosphere. Yes you’ll have to listen to it later, but you’ll never forget the way you eloquently defined the theme or that tone you used in that bit of dialogue that made the character come to life.
4. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to write, but in the age of Instagram, you probably have the time to snap a picture. Often we see something that inspires us while we are away from home. Take a picture and if you have an extra moment send it to your email or FB or Instagram with a few words reminding you what you felt or thought when you first saw it. Maybe it is a way a woman sweeps her porch each morning or the way a waiter sets a cafe table you want to remember, if it is an action use the video feature.
5. Another option is to call a friend who can jot down ideas for you. I have a writing partner I call once a week. We bounce ideas off each other for about thirty minutes each. While one of us talks the other one types the great ideas into an email and then we hit send. This is a great option if you’re brainstorming as a second brain often helps you problem-solve on the fly.
6. If you are going on a trip or somewhere you can sit a while a tablet may be a better option. The onboard keyboard is bigger so you can have less finger fumbles. There are also more app options for Ipad and other tablets. You can even use the Kindle Fire and go back and forth between reading on your vacation and writing.
7. If you want to have a quiet vacation with no technology, or you just don’t want the temptation of being able to do other things, get a digital recorder. They’re cheap, and you can play it back as many times as you want without tying up your phone line.
8. Nothing beats having a pen handy and a good writing notebook. They’re cheap, you never have to worry about running out of battery and they are unobtrusive to those around you. A notebook is the best option if you’re going to be out in full sun where a screen is impossible to see or if you are going off-grid hiking, camping, etc. There are down points too, they can get ruined by water and it is easy to sit them down and forget them, but for $2 you can replace them.
9. You know the best ideas come when absolutely nothing is available. This is why I always keep a pen in my pocket. You can write those ideas on any scrap of paper or even the palm of your hand (I’ve been that desperate). Don’t believe me? Look around you right now. Can you find something to write on? A napkin? The back of a receipt? A lunch bag? Make sure to invest in a good pen though. One that will write even on a vertical surface and also one that doesn’t bleed if it gets wet. A good pack of 5 pens is still not more than $10 so for under $2 you’ll have the assurance of being able to get any idea down somewhere.
10. Okay so there is one place this idea might not work-the shower. Don’t worry, even there you can jot your ideas down. If you’re a mom, then it might be the best place to have 2-3 minutes to get your great ideas out of your head uninterrupted. Invest in a shower notepad. Aquanotes has one that is similar to parchment paper. You can scribble down your ideas and take them with you.
No matter where you are or what you’re doing, with a little creativity there is always a way to write on the go.
Jessica White is an admin for the 10 Minute Novelists Facebook group. Her book Surviving the Stillness came out last year. She blogs at https://authorjessicawhite.wordpress.com She lives with her family in the Dallas, Texas metro area.