Monday, July 7, 2014

Writing on the Road

Hello folks, Mark here with a few thoughts on writing on the road.

School is out for us, so the wife and I decided to use up our time-share credits to take an extended road trip south to Las Vegas and back home up through California, staying at several places along the way. We loaded up the rig with golf clubs, guitar, and the computer and hit the road.

I've been looking forward to this trip. I really enjoy the desert colors, and driving with the wife sans kids is just more fun. She reads and critiques the most recent draft of the novel, and I get to let my wind wander around plot lines and characters for the work in progress. We have become quite a team in that respect; she has better clerical eyes than I do and finds stuff I miss. Plus, she gives me immediate feedback on how the draft reads.

I find I enjoy writing on the road, and I don't mean travel blog material. When I say I love the desert colors, I do not feel the need to rhapsodize rhetorically about them. I leave that sort of stuff to Sunset Magazine. Besides, I've read Travels with Charley by Steinbeck and Blue Highways by Least-Heat Moon, and both of those giants do journey-lit better than I can.  My focus on these road trips is to work out novel ideas, wander over word sounds and images, and if some of that awesomely striated rock finds its way into the syllable stream, then so be it.

Some writers go on writing retreats; some of my sister authors rent a house on the beach and have at it with food and laptops for a week of unmitigated word porn. I haven't connected with a group like that, so I make the vacation thing function the same way, but I throw in a few casinos and a show, and this year my NYC daughter is flying in to spend three days with us in Vegas.

I actually do get some writing in, really, even in high energy places like Las Vegas.  The early morning hours are best. I have found that when the wife and I do these extended road trips we really aren't interested in maxing out the local activity stuff. Besides, this is my fourth time to Vegas, and I am thoroughly over the glitze and glam.  Our condo comes with some nice appointments, which include internet and a good coffee-maker. I did not feel the least bit guilty about tapping away at some of book four, Pevanese Mosiac, for two solid mornings of the four we spent in Vegas-town.  I gambled maybe $6 worth of quarters, held the wife down to $20 and managed to add about 1500 words to the draft...SCORE! :)

Right now I'm updating this entry from Palm Springs, California where it is so hot the pool feels like it could cook something, perhaps braized vacationer, if given enough time. The heat actually kept us indoors for a few hours. More coffee, World Cup Soccer, and 1000 words later we eventually hit the pool. I've found that getting away from the home routines allows me the freedom to let stuff come out without the usual self-editing/self doubt. One of my main characters for Pevanese Mosaic, Grayce Stonesmith, showed up one night in St. George, Utah in 2012. Some of my best note-taking sessions have happened at the conventions I've attended over the last three years. As a result, I am sold on the notion that a good way to break through the blockages is to simply change one's location. In the interests of saving a few bucks, I think I'll invest in a new battery for the laptop and take a hike up the local ridge near my house. I'm sure I can find enough new closer to home to help spark the word count without wearing out my tires on the rig...

So, what do you do to change things up for yourself? Road trips work for me; what works for you?


PS: I feel I would be remiss if I didn't boost our ongoing funding drive via indegogo. If you could help spread the word to all and sundry that would be great! Eric's post below would be a great one to reference! Happy July everyone!


1 comment:

Terri-Lynne said...

Traveling takes me OUT of writing, but I write five days a week the rest of the time, so I'm not feeling too slackerish about not writing on vacay.

What going away does for ME is takes me out of writing. It lets my brain recharge, and forces me to step back from a project and get the perspective I usually don't allow myself.