This week I'm traveling (a glorious mid-winter trip to Hawaii. Jealous?) In the past, I've always been hesitant to take my computer on trips like this. Not because I'm worried about a computer breakdown, or anything -- I just don't like lugging the beast around with me. This time, however, I brought it. So here are a few random thoughts on the benefits and drawbacks of writing while traveling.
On one flight segment, I had an open seat next to me. On the other, I was smashed into the middle seat. During the first segment, it was easy to write. In the second one, merely opening the computer made me feel downright claustrophobic. I got nothing done on segment number two.
If you can keep the plane's video system turned off, and not talk to your neighbors, there is no better place to concentrate than on an airplane. It was good for writing a first draft, but would have been even better for a fast editing read-through of an existing manuscript. Doing concept work for a new novel typically requires access to the internet (for ongoing research), and would not work well on the plane.
Writing while at the vacation resort works only in the early early morning, during the period of time where I'm up before everyone else. Otherwise, there is so much going on, I'm unable to concentrate on the story line. Why is that important? Because I tend to turn the story over and over in my head during odd moments of the day. That's what gives me mental fuel to write the next scene. Without the contemplation, the story becomes linear and dull.
Trips are also a great time to read. For me, this means reading a primer on "Surviving the Apocalypse," a diet book, and a thriller in roughly the same space where I write. The Survival book has already given me an idea for a novel (just need the corporate tie-in).
So, while I won't have the raw word output I would achieve at home, I will still manage to make some progress on my latest book while having lots of fun.