Writers on the Road

by Linda O. Johnston

Well, not literally on the road necessarily, but traveling. On vacation. 

Is there such a thing as a vacation for a writer? Yes… and no.

Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, our minds are busy.  Never mind whether we’re sitting at a computer churning out whatever story we are working on. That might not happen as much while we are out of our usual environment.

But yes, we’re writing when we’re not writing. Our minds are at work, observing what’s around us, the environment, the people including possibly our families but also those who are there on vacation too, or locals, or those who are taking care of us at whatever hotels or resorts we might be visiting or cruises we’re on.

It’s all inspiration! No matter what we might be writing at the moment or planning to write in the near future, we’re always open to new ideas that we might head for in the future.

Yes, last time I was here I wrote about a life of strange inspirations. But what about inspirations that aren’t strange, but fun?

So why am I addressing this? Well, last week I was on a family trip at a resort in Cancun. Oh, yes, it was fun. I loved being with family, and the environment was amazing. Extremely windy when we were there, but the brilliant blue water beyond the white sand beach at the place we were staying was beautiful. A lot of generous service from the resort staff. Multi-level swimming pools. Vast buildings around areas where outside entertainment was provided. Even fireworks!

I had mixed emotions about some of it. We’d been to that resort before, and they have a couple of large pools containing dolphins that appear to be well treated considering where they are, but having such smart animals that are originally from vast sea environments contained like that… Well, I’ve researched dolphins. They’re wonderful beings. As smart as humans in their environment. Am I inspired to write about them? I’ve always been inspired to write about them, but definitely not in situations like that—unless they can find a way out and get revenge!

See! My mind was at work while I was relaxing and enjoying my vacation.

How about you? Does traveling inspire you to develop new ideas, new stories, different kinds of things?

By the way, this subject is so vital to me that I’m incorporating it into the three blogs I’m posting on the same day this month. I’m addressing it somewhat differently, but it’s definitely on my mind. Along with my writing.

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Photo by Leon Overweel on Unsplash

14 thoughts on “Writers on the Road”

  1. Linda, (my comment just disappeared so hope not a repeat) you are so right, ideas can pop up anywhere and everywhere, at the grocery store, in the shower. Yours is a topic that I hope is mentioned to students in writing classes, to keep a notepad handy at all times. A place, friends, strangers, animals like your dolphins can truly inspire when least expected. I lived in Bangkok for five years but not until I was dining at a Thai restaurant in California many, many years later, did a plot pop swim into my head as I watched a veteran and his Thai wife at a table nearby I wrote a short story and published it on amazon. It is called “Farang.” Thanks, Linda, for a nice piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad your comment appeared! And how fun that your story idea came to you a long time after the events that inspired it. A writer’s mind is always at work!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Using all the places we have seen adds that realistic touch to our fiction. I’ve lived all over the world and have used many of those locations in my books. I don’t mind making up a locale, but the real thing is fun. And, yes, I see stories and characters as I move around in my neighborhood. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction even though I always fictionalize the people I see. That’s the writer in me.

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    1. I haven’t used all the places I’ve visited in my writing but have made notes and might jump on one or more locations someday, Gayle. And I always fictionalize people, too. That’s not only the writer, but the lawyer in me!

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  3. Me too! Linda, I’m always inspired by people I see on my travels and have half-finished stories about different characters in different settings nags. My goal is to complete them! Thanks fir a good reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So glad you got to get away, Linda. I’ve swum with dolphins while in Hawaii. They came into a pool-like inlet, but had free access to the ocean. They seemed to like being around us swimmers in the shallows. (And of course they got food as well.) Their skin feel smooth like that of an olive. I’ll be looking for a mention of these smart swimmers in one of your books or stories!

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    1. I’ve written dolphin stories that I haven’t submitted for publication because the laws about them changed. But maybe someday! And swimming with them in an environment where they can do as they please sounds great!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well said! We travel so much, it’s hard to find time to write on the road. People imagine a writer sitting around and enjoying the place they are in and writing. Not the case for us! I’ve written chapters, or magazine articles on vacation, but most of the time we’re hiking, visiting friends, exploring the area, and gone from breakfast until dark. We fit in so much while we’re in one place.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it’s hard to find time to write while actually traveling. there’s usually so much to do! I’ve sometimes managed a bit of writing on cruises but not generally on other trips.

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    1. I loved the idea too. Maybe someday I’ll go back to it and modify the idea to fit with what’s going on today.

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  6. Like you, I’ve been inspired by travel, evidenced in several of my books and stories. I’ve also had to write in various locations around the world, dragging my laptop to the hotel lobby while housekeeping performed its magic or responding to comments on my blog post while in Australia. A writer’s mind is never turned off, as your post illustrates.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blogging in Australia–how fun! Yep, a writer’s mind is always at work, even when we’re sleeping, and in another location.

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