In the last several months, have you taken a trip or welcomed visitors from out of town? Have you considered your own travel plans or those of others? Have you watched the news and seen people stranded in airports or on snow covered highways? If so, it might have occurred to you that better travel plans might have allowed for a better experience on the road.
The same might be said about your journey as a writer. If that’s the case, here’s a list of travel tips that might be useful to you.
• Keep your eyes on the prize whether it’s a trip to Palo Verde or to publication. Stay focused on your goals. Avoid distractions like email, Twitter, Facebook or online shopping during your established writing time. Give yourself time to take care of correspondence, but once done, don’t fall victim to lost time because you’re curious about someone else’s high school friends or photos.
• Be persistent. Ever wait for your luggage at one carousel only to have your bags tossed onto the conveyor belt of another? Or not show up at all because they’ve taken a side trip to Sheboygan? It’s easy to get discouraged. Keep on keeping on and you’ll arrive at your destination just like that luggage.
• Trim down for the journey. Take only the essentials with you. Leave jealousy, unrealistic expectations, unfair demands on your time or talent behind. Lighten the load and hasten toward your goal of publication in whichever form you most desire.
• Travel together. One person may be able to provide direction when a piece of narrative doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. When you’ve lost your way, another might make suggestions about how to get back on track, just like an attendant at a service station with advice about which road to take when on the way to Washtenaw.
• Never go empty-handed. When you attend a critique group meeting, bring an article to share with writing buddies. Bring the name of an agent or publisher open to queries to submissions, or bring a book on the craft of writing that someone else may not have read. It might open the door to solid discussion and it might have the intended outcome of leading someone to a sale or a byline. Exchange information related to your shared goals as writers.
• Finally, have hope. As best you can, overcome discouragement, the skepticism of others or your own uncertainty. Provide a good example. Sometimes the best way to encourage others is to describe your own journey and what has sustained you on the quest to publication.
When you do finally arrive at that place where you see your own name next to some text you’ve composed, enjoy! Kick back, read it a time or two, share it with friends and family as you would photos from your trip to Poughkeepsie. And when you’re done, plan your next trip or project. Pack your bags and enjoy the journey!