I’ve come to a realization about my vacation time. When I’m away and exploring a new place, I like to writer-geek it up. I check out sights and do things to inspire my creative-writing side. It gives a new twist on how to spend a vacation, especially when it’s hard to sit down and write for blocks of time.
Want to writer-geek up your next vacay? Here are 8 writer-inspired things to do.
1. Go to a local bookstore
I visited Chronicle Books in San Francisco, which had loads of awesome books, anything from books about cooking to books about cursing. Both were colorful in their respective ways.
2. Visit a local cafe
Caffeine is a big part of a writer’s life, whether it’s coffee, tea, or IV drip. I got a chai tea latte and banana bread at Better Buzz Coffee Roasters that was dee-lish, and I worked on editing my WIP.
3. Write outside, if possible
Writing outside opens the senses and gives a fresh perspective on a WIP. In Southern California, it’s not hard to write outside. One can only complain about sun glare on the computer screen. I found a bench at Pacific Beach and this was my view.
4. Visit a museum or other attraction
In San Francisco, a lot of museums are closed on Wednesday. Go figure. But the American Bookbinders Museum was open. I learned how books were created in the 1800s, a long process that included folding, flattening, sewing, and trimming pages.
5. Buy something writer-related
I’d never seen one of these small 5-year memory books until I got to Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Each entry allows you to write a bite-size snippet of what happened that day. It’s like a mashup between Twitter and a journal, with pen and paper, of course.
Eavesdropping is terrible, I know. But sometimes you overhear something that gives you an idea for a character, plot, dialogue, name, or event. Riding mass transit or sitting in a cafe is great for hearing interesting conversation. While out of our normal routine, we can be more receptive to these moments.
7. See the way people dress
Noticing how people dress can prove insightful when describing characters. If I were writing a story that takes place in San Francisco, I’d probably have the protagonist wearing a hooded, thin, bubble or soft-shell jacket. A necessity for dealing with the sunshine-one-minute, rain-the-next weather.
8. Notice the smells and sounds
Places can have different scents, another great description to capture in our writing. To me, the San Diego beach smells like sand. That is, until you come across any seals. They are fun to watch, but phew, they’re a stinky lot. I also associate that city with the cawing sound of seagulls and jets flying overhead from nearby Navy bases.
What writer-related things do you like to do while on vacation?