Monday, June 20, 2005

Get Out of Town!

It's summer and many of us will travel away from our usual surroundings. We abandon our computers to breathe free, relax and unwind. You would think this would detract from your writing, but you would be wrong. Go prepared with your trusty notebook and pen and you may be surprised to find your mind filled with inspiration to write. Yes, you can take your muse along with you!

Last year we spent four days at a charming coastal location in Oregon. I thought I was leaving my muse behind, in fact it was my plan to do so. She wasn't working for me. I was going through a difficult time with my writing, nothing was happening and I was feeling empty of ideas. I really need some time away from the stress of writing, I thought. Then as we strolled along the beach, enjoying the ocean breezes and taking in the sights and sounds,there was my muse perched on a driftwood log. Suddenly my mind was flooded with dozens of ideas and titles for a long list of potential new works. Luckily I carry a small notebook in my bag at all times and I furiously wrote down every idea. I realized my vacation trip was indeed a gold mine of inspiration, and I began noting details and senses that I knew would be important to my writing later.

You do need an understanding spouse or travel companion because your pauses to take notes may not be their idea of entertainment, but the note taking doesn't have to be all-consuming. Take mental notes and write them down at a more convenient time, while your partner is taking a shower or taking a nap.

Pick up free handouts and brochures, or purchase picture postcards and souvenirs to help you hold on to those flashes of inspiration. Take plenty of snapshots of the things that spark your muse. They can be helpful reminders when you are back at home.

This year I have three short vacation trips planned and I can hardly wait to get moving. My notebook will be my constant companion. Knowing the kind of stimulus that waits in each new location has added to my anticipation. Story sparkers are everywhere and vacation trips offer a wealth of ideas. Open your mind and look at all the new things that surround you, then write them down.

Just remember this is not the time to write the story. Take notes and then let go and have a great time. Unwind and refresh yourself, that is important to your writing too. You will be home again soon enough.

This summer try to "get out of town". You'll be glad you did.

(c)2005 Sharon A. Soffe


Chris Barton said...

Great ideas, Shari -- sometimes, nothing succeeds quite like not trying so hard to succeed.

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...


Isn't that the truth. In this case the ideas were popping up faster than I could write them down.