Writing While Traveling

My vacation is over, but the words remain! It was less than three weeks total and I managed to read five novels (I’m a slow reader that’s huge for me). I spent one week dancing and another eating more chocolate, drinking more Belgian beer, seeing more fabulous art and consuming more apple cake (AKA Dutch apple pie) than in the previous three years!

I also wrote.

I wrote blog posts and sketched out/began four short stories. Plus, when I found out that one of my new Tango friends was a Mt. Everest/Mt. Kilimanjaro guide, I “interviewed” her and then wrote a relatively long short story about a climb with her expert insights as background!

Travel is good for my writing. It’s distracting. It’s inspiring. And it provides a natural—and often much needed—break from ongoing projects. At the beginning of my trip I spent a little time with my current novel-in-progress, but then I left the folder with the 50+ pages alone.

Now that I’m back home, I’m happy that I didn’t focus on it during the trip. The distance that time away gave me is critical. Yes, critical! The break has enabled me to critique my own work. In his spectacular book ON WRITING, Stephen King talks about putting aside a manuscript for six months. My version is periodic respites. But I seem to need to go-away to really go-away from my own fiction.

Writers: are distance and time good for you, too?



  1. Time and distance? Time definitely. I’ve just started back on Innerscape after a break of something like 4 months, give or take, and I see now that I should have taken a break sooner. You see by the time I wrote the ‘epilogue’ I was tired – tired of the story, tired of writing constantly every day, tired of being chained to my desk, even tired of the characters. So I wanted to finish it, and I did, but it was not a natural ending and left far too much of the story unfinished. So it’s back to the drawing board to make a start on Part 8.

    I suspect even the most prolific of writers [not me] could probably use some time away instead of rushing into publishing. Stories are like children, they take time and patience and love. 🙂

    • Candy Korman

      TIME—definitely and I’ve found that distance is also useful.

      Rushing to get things out the door can backfire. I don’t mind letting myself rush with short stories, but longer form storytelling really deserves the patience that I don’t always have. Of course I’m learning… And since I love to travel, putting works-in-progress aside when I’m away is a good idea.

  2. Sometimes I think I can’t get any writing done unless in a quiet room, but I should probably test that theory more often. The truth is I invent just about every reason there is to avoid my own writing, and I’m starting to conquer that tendency as I shed an old life and start a new one. I used to have my freshman comp students do an eavesdropping exercise and it always yielded such fruitful results. I love getting writing inspiration in such ways, and would probably come up with much more material if I would write when I changed my scenery a bit.

    • Candy Korman

      I recommend getting out and about and discovering how inspiring writing in a crowded, noisy, crazy place can be. Also, fyi, people speaking a language I don’t understand makes the best “white noise” for writing!