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How Writing Is Like A Road Trip

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How Writing Is Like A Road Trip


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. 

How Writing Is Like 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.

3. Entertainment
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.

How Writing Is Like A Road Trip


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.  
Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for my brand new release, The Unexpected Bride.

How Writing Is Like A Road Trip

THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE

How Writing Is Like A Road Trip
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?





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31 Comments on Seekerville: The Journey Continues: How Writing Is Like A Road Trip

  • kaybee
    on May 17, 2019 | 09:34 kaybeesaid :
    "Well good morning. Winnie, this is a great post, sort of a "Seven Habits" for writers. "Choosing the right companions" can also apply to our fellow writers, could it not? Or letting them choose us. My first crit partner, who I worked with on and off for 20 years, was a master of structure and helped me get a grip on plotting. My current crit partner is a marketing genius, which is crucial now that I have something to market. The Lord puts the people we need in front of us, doesn't he?
    And amen to leaving room in one's schedule for interruptions. My kids are grown, I only work part-time, and I STILL get interruptions. Only not this week, as I am still tied pretty much to home still waiting for the home handyman. It is like Murphy Brown's house painter. Or "Waiting For Godot."
    Kathy Bailey
    Getting a lot done in New Hampshire"
  • Mindy Obenhaus
    on May 17, 2019 | 09:36 Mindy Obenhaussaid :
    "I love this, Winnie, but I think you may have left out one thing. Be patient.

    My lack of patience can drive me crazy, both on road trips and in my writing. In both cases, somewhere at the midway point I always find myself thinking, "This seemed like such a good idea when I started out." Instead, I want to be there/have it done NOW. I know it's supposed to be about the journey, but my impatient self seems to show up more often than not. That's when I have to remind myself to savor the journey. Find beauty in unexpected places or try new things along the way. Because it's the journey that makes the destination even sweeter.

    Hope you all have wonderful and safe trip!"
  • Lila
    on May 17, 2019 | 09:57 Lilasaid :
    "Great analogy between road trips and writing! Having a plan and destination but being flexible for side trips is essential. "
  • Vince
    on May 17, 2019 | 10:13 Vincesaid :
    "Hi Winnie:

    To all your good advice I'd add these:

    1. if you get lost, don't be too proud to ask for directions (unless you're a guy).

    2. don't text or Facebook while you are driving. Pay attention and stay focused.

    3. warn any in car distractions that they "better not make you stop this car."

    4. tell those asking questions that you'll let them know when you get there.

    5. Always know how far away the next restroom is.

    6. Don't forget to bring and take your medicine.

    Vince
    "
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 10:13 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hello Kaybee. I absolutely love your insight into companions in our writing journey, because yes, having great critique and brainstorming buddies, as well as encouragers by our side is so very important.
    Thanks for adding to the list."
  • Ruth Logan Herne
    on May 17, 2019 | 10:17 Ruth Logan Hernesaid :
    "Oh, Winnie, all words of wisdom! When I road trip with Beth and Mandy, we have discovered that Beth and I don't care much about eating... we're snackers. Mandy gets anxious if she doesn't have some sort of real food every 2 hours or so.... Something we'd have never thought of stopping for because we consider M&M peanuts as real food. Chocolate and nuts = meal!!!

    But once we figured that out, it worked well.

    Knowing your companions and them having the freedom to speak up (which is rarely a problem.... sigh.... in our family) is clutch. :)

    I'm so excited for you! You guys will have a blast! GIRL TRIP!!!!"
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 10:17 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Oh Mindy I love this so much! Patience is definitely not a strong suit of mine - I've been known to groan that I prefer to 'have written' than to 'be writing' :)"
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 10:19 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hi Lila, glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by."
  • Ruth Logan Herne
    on May 17, 2019 | 10:20 Ruth Logan Hernesaid :
    "I think, too, that I kind of write like I road trip.... I don't wander a lot (anymore) but I do let the road and conditions help pave the way. So I know where I'm ending up, but I don't always know what backroad detours might befall me on the trip (like getting sent off the state road in a PA snowstorm last winter and ending up on an unmarked gravel road and being rescued!!!) or the cool sites that draw us to stop... (a lost puppy or small child wandering...)

    Or an elderly person seeming lost and alone.

    So many reasons to veer slightly off-course!"
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 10:30 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Great additions Vince. To bring these into the writing realm,
    1. When you get stuck, talk it out with a trusted writing buddy
    2. Don't let social media steal your focus when it's time to write
    3. Don't let others take advantage of your 'availability' when it's writing time
    4. Don't let other folk's impatience for your finished product derail you
    5. Know your limits and take breaks accordingly
    6. Take time to learn and grow in your craft."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 10:32 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Thanks Ruthy, we're all very excited, texting each other daily like a group of schoolgirls :)"
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 10:34 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "And often those are the most memorable parts of a trip - and a book!"
  • Wilani Wahl
    on May 17, 2019 | 12:37 Wilani Wahlsaid :
    "I can relate to when life happens. "
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 12:41 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "LOL, I think we all can :)"
  • Wilani Wahl
    on May 17, 2019 | 12:44 Wilani Wahlsaid :
    "I'm so glad to be home. I have a file folder with floor plans of all types of houses. I printed them from the internet. Some have pictures of the house furnished. I have something to look at while describe the home of the characters."
  • Missy Tippens
    on May 17, 2019 | 14:10 Missy Tippenssaid :
    "Winnie, what a fun post! You know, I've had characters before that I discovered I just didn't like. LOL So I think having likable companions is a great recommendation! BTW, I got rid of the characters I didn't like (or changed them majorly). :)

    I'm so excited about your trip! I think that would be so fun to have a girls trip like that."
  • Missy Tippens
    on May 17, 2019 | 14:11 Missy Tippenssaid :
    "LOL on the M&M's as real food!! :)"
  • Missy Tippens
    on May 17, 2019 | 14:12 Missy Tippenssaid :
    "Those are some good ones, Vince!

    Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
  • Wilani Wahl
    on May 17, 2019 | 15:04 Wilani Wahlsaid :
    "This writer is hoping to have a desk soon. Right now my desk is the living room couch and I have heard a lot of flack from my brother because my couch was always full. Of course when I fell and could not come home for 4 months they came in and cleaned off the couch and there are still things I cannot find. Plus with having to have home health and people who bring the meals on wheels I have to keep the house spotless even though I can't clean. My house is not big enough for a desk. Very frustrating because I want to write in spite of it all but kind of hard right now so in the mean time I keep jotting down notes as ideas come and pray that my knee will start cooperating and I can be free to be me again. Family does not understand my need to write."
  • Amy Anguish
    on May 17, 2019 | 15:30 Amy Anguishsaid :
    "That is such a fun book cover, Winnie! I love it. And I love the idea of road trip rules being writing rules, too. And now, I'm sort of playing with the idea of writing a story about a road trip gone wrong ... Maybe I should incorporate the rules?
    Do we have to clean our work space if it's always this cluttered? Asking for someone I know."
  • Debby Giusti
    on May 17, 2019 | 16:42 Debby Giustisaid :
    "Have a great trip! Love your road trip tips that also apply to writing! Also love your blurb. The story sounds delightful!

    I need to make a note to clean my office! :("
  • Vince
    on May 17, 2019 | 16:55 Vincesaid :
    "Hi Winnie: Your writing translations are perfect! If you've had kids in the car on a long trip, you know just what I mean. Us kids would ask that until we fell asleep. Such fun."
  • Vince
    on May 17, 2019 | 17:03 Vincesaid :
    "Hi Ruth:

    And how about those signs that say, "Fantastic Caverns 500 Miles Ahead" and then "Fantastic Caverns 400 Miles Ahead", and then every 100 miles until someone in the car notices that 'we drove by it'!

    Talk about an anticipatory event!
    "
  • Samantha
    on May 17, 2019 | 17:22 Samanthasaid :
    "Great tips and a fun parallelism! Thank you. Now if I would quit taking so many detours..."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 18:44 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "LOL I hear you. And thanks for the excitement over my trip, I'm REALLY looking forward to it."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 18:48 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Wilani, desks are always good though I do most of my writing at the dining room table."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 18:52 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hi Amy, thanks for the kind words about my book. And I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Cleaning between projects is the best I can do. While I'm in the middle of things I need my 'stuff' around me."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 18:55 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Thanks Debby! And this is a case of do as I say, not as I do - my office is embarrassingly cluttered at the moment. :("
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 18:57 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Thanks Samantha. And sometimes the detours are the best part - of both road trips and writing. :)"
  • Anonymous
    on May 17, 2019 | 19:16 Anonymoussaid :
    "Love the comparisons! Maybe road/writers block(s) is another one? :) Lee-Ann "
  • Winnie Griggs
    on May 17, 2019 | 19:49 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hi Lee-Ann, absolutely! Hitting a writing roadblock can derail a book just like travel roadblocks can derail a trip"
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