The truth is, I like writing at home, in my writing room, best. Everything I need close at hand, in an environment I’ve created for myself. I also love the views from my writing room windows (although I spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME watching the birds at my bird feeder when I should be writing!) and, most of all, knowing that my dogs are sleeping under my desk makes me really happy.
But…sometimes, like when an impending deadline coincides with a previously scheduled book tour or research trip, writing on the go is my only option.
I have written on trains, planes, and boats. In cars, cafes, airports, holiday lodges, hotels, friends’ houses and mountain cabins. I’ve written at locations varying from snowy mountains and beautiful gardens to hot beaches and city cafes. I’ve learned that I can write pretty much anywhere…although having a few key things along for the ride definitely helps.
For those of you who would like to write anywhere (maybe, for instance, you’ve already started writing a book and need to finish it, but a family holiday is looming) I’d suggest finding a few things to help you get into the writing zone when you’re away from home, so you can finish writing your book, whether you’re visiting your granny, camping with your family, or have a long train ride planned…
Here’s my list of the writing necessities I never leave home without; I hope it’ll inspire you to find your own!
1.) My laptop! It’s an obvious one, I know, but if I forget it I won’t be able to work, so I always make sure I slip it into its travelling case and pack it into my work bag the night before I go anywhere. I also keep extra computer cables for charging and hooking up to electrical sockets packed in ziplock bags, so they’re easy to grab and pack. Also, I always make sure I pack two extra memory sticks, because you never know!
2.) A scarf! I need to be warm while writing or nothing is going to get written, frankly. Therefore I always travel with some kind of large, light, and super soft scarf. Something I can wrap around my neck, or even my shoulders if need be. To be honest, I wouldn’t dream of travelling without one…in fact, I usually wear one whilst writing at home, too!
3.) Tea. I drink so much (herbal and green) tea that this is another travel must for me! I might be in a wooden cabin in the middle of nowhere in Norway, but as soon as I brew my own tea, I’m suddenly transported to my cosy comfort zone. Ditto for trains or planes, or anywhere else that offers a limited choice.
4.) My trusty pencil bag. I NEVER leave home without it. In it you’ll find an assortment of clicky pencils, coloured pens, black pens, felt-tip pens, erasers, highlighters and sticky notes – all the various bits and bobs I need to write and edit. And because I use the exact same stuff at home, again, like with the tea, I can be anywhere and feel like I’m at my desk at home.
5.) My notebook of the moment. For every book I write I keep a notebook – one that’s light enough to easily slip into my handbag or tote bag. In this notebook I jot down every thought, idea, doodle, timeline, etc. that pertains to whichever book I’m working on. I like Moleskin notebooks with unlined pages, not too big, but not too small. And I always choose ones whose covers are in colours that make me happy. The truth is, these notebooks are basically attached to me at all times – even at home. So like my pencil bag, I cannot imagine travelling without them. Wherever I may be in the world, all I have to do is unpack them from my bag and immediately I start getting into my writing zone.
6.) Noise-cancelling headphones. As much as possible, I like TOTAL QUIET when I’m writing – although silence is not always an option when writing on the go. That’s when I pop my noise-cancelling headphones on. They cancel out all of the low-grade background noise and make writing on trains or planes, or even just working somewhere noisy much easier for me. Mine are made by Bose. I won’t lie: they are pricey! But worth it. Plus, once I’ve hit my writing quota I can kick back and listen to a podcast or some tunes.
We all have our little tricks and happy habits to get the words onto the page when writing on the go – I found mine through good ol’ trial and error. What special things do you pack for writing on the go? Do you need only a few things? Or more? Let me know in the comments below!
Happy writing – and safe travels!