Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. For the past few weeks my 3 sisters and I have been excitedly planning a girl’s trip to Disney World for mid-June. It’s the first time we’ve done something like this and we’re all very excited about not only going to Disney, but having the opportunity to spend some time together. My baby sister, who still works a full time job and lives the furthest away is planning to fly, but the other three of us are going to drive together. So lately I’ve been googling tips for getting the most from a road trip.
To my surprise I found a lot of these same trips can be tied to writing. So here is my interpretation of 6 ways writing is like a road trip:
1. Spend some time figuring out the best route
Like a road trip, when writing a story you need to know your character’s starting and ending destinations. Once you know these two anchoring points, you can explore the many routes you can take to get you there. Some of the factors that will play into your decisions – the amount of time you have available to make the trip ( novella, short work, longer work), the various sights you want to see (character milestones), and the spare time you have for side-trips (subplots).
2. Clean and service your vehicle before you leave.
Just like it’s a good idea to make sure your vehicle is clean and in good working order before you leave on your trip, you also want to make certain you’re starting your new book under the best possible conditions. Clear your workspace, put away all the research and story notes you accumulated on your last project, and if time allows, take a breather between projects to do something fun and restful to ‘refill the well’ of your energy and creative juices.
For some people, playlists and eBooks are an essential part of any road trip. Just so, for some writers, having a writing playlist, sometimes specific for each story, is also essential.
4. Have a plan but be flexible
To get the most from your road trip, you want to have a solid plan for how you’re going to get from start to final destination. But you also want to leave some flexibility in your schedule to accommodate unexpected roadblocks and side trips. So too, as a writer we all know that life happens. Our writing schedules can be detoured by illness, family events, major climate events and any one of a dozen other issues. Make sure you leave some room in your writing schedule to adjust for these life events when they happen.
5. Choose the right companions
Taking a long road trip can make or break a friendship. After all, you’re going to be trapped in a vehicle for a number of hours with your travel buddies with no way to escape them – make sure they are folks you can get along with. So too, make certain the characters you’ve developed for your story are ones who can keep your interest (and the reader’s!) for the duration of the ‘journey’.
6. Understand the rules of the road
This may sound basic, but if you’re going cross country, or even into other countries, the ‘rules of the road for these other states/countries can be different than what we are used to.
Relating this to writing, each genre/sub-genre has its own expectations and you need to understand the ones for the book you’re writing.
There you have it - my thoughts on how writing is like a road trip. Do you agree with these? Do you have others to add.
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THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE
Fleeing an arranged marriage, socialite Elthia Sinclare accepts a governess position halfway across the country. But when she arrives in Texas she finds more than she bargained for - more children, more work and more demands. Because Caleb Tanner wants a bride, not a governess. But marrying this unrefined stranger is better than what awaits her back home, so Elthia strikes a deal for a temporary marriage. She says I do and goes to work—botching the housework, butting heads with her new spouse, loving the children.
Caleb isn’t sure what to make of this woman who isn’t at all what he contracted for—she’s spoiled, unskilled and lavishes her affection on a lap dog that seems to be little more than a useless ball of fluff. But to his surprise she gets along well with the children, works hard to acquire domestic skills and is able to hold her own with the town matriarchs.
Could the mistake that landed him with this unexpected bride be the best thing that ever happened to him?