Thoughts on Writing and Traveling

Most of you know I’ve been in a rut when it comes to writing.  I’ve been lost. I haven’t known what to write about for months.  Hence, I’ve been writing bits and pieces, here and there.  Nothing coherent.  Nothing that really speaks to me.  I struggle to put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard).  The only time I seem able to write without reservation has been when I journal.  Which is awesome but does little to assist in developing my next writing project.

But today, as I added another entry to the journal, I realized something.  Journal writing actually is the key to my next project. Here’s what I’m going to do (and I must say, I’m pretty excited about it).  I’m bringing writing materials with me to Thailand.  I fully intend to document the whole trip.  Feelings, experiences, adventures.  Good days, bad days, in between days.  I’ll write anything I please.  Anything that comes to mind, that inspires me.  Some of it will appear on my blog.  But not all of it.  Just the stuff I’m comfortable with.

The biggest reason for documenting my trip will be to keep a record of everything I experience, to be able to look back one day and remember this time in my life.  But the other reason is that I have a sneaking suspicion my journals will make excellent material for my next book project.

I don’t know yet if I will write something true to life or if I will use my journals to develop a fictional story.  But I know for sure I have a story to tell.  I don’t want to tie myself down to a particular type of writing.  If I end up wanting to spill my guts for all to see, perhaps I’ll write something of a travel memoir.  If not, I’ll spice it up with lots of goodies and make it fiction.  Maybe the main character will be a teen.  Maybe he/she will be an adult.  Maybe I’ll tell it from my perspective.  Maybe not.  I don’t know yet.  And that’s the really exciting part.  I feel amazingly good about having a foundation to build and even better about not feeling tied to one particular genre. I’m going to let it evolve into what it’s meant to be.  I won’t force it.  I’ve let go of expectations.

Mary Carroll Moore, one of my favorite blogger/writers, talks a lot about using islands when she starts writing her books.  Islands are essentially non-sequential, dramatic moments in a book.  They are the pieces-parts.  They’re not in any particular order.  You write a piece when the moment strikes you.  You don’t worry about how it will fit with the story or what the purpose of it is.

That’s pretty much how I plan to use my journal entries.  Each will be it’s own island.  When my trip comes to an end, I’ll print out all of my entries and start looking for story and structure. I’ll decide the genre.  I’ll do the hard work of bringing it all together.  Until then, this part is cake.  It’s writing without reservation.  Without holding back.  Without worrying about the outcome.

And I’m excited for that.  I’m really, really excited!

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