Sunday, January 02, 2011

Writing While Traveling

This week, our family spent four fun-filled days in Las Vegas to get away from the winter cold and the rain that was drenching the pacific northwest. My son and husband had never been there before, so it was a treat to show them sights that literally had their jaws dropping. As we strolled through the enormous over-the-top themed hotels and along the strip’s flashing, brilliant lights, and noise, I tried to come up with words that might best describe this overload—if not downright assault—on the senses, but I fell short. Maybe it’s just difficult to put some sights and sounds into words. My husband, who’d seen Vegas on TV and in movies and had heard about it countless times from friends, thought he had a pretty good idea of what to expect, but even he was flabbergasted by the place. I’m not a travel writer and haven’t read much about Vegas, so I’m not sure how other authors have fared, but I suspect that Las Vegas is one of those places one has to experience to truly understand what the writer is talking about.

So, I stuck to my own writing, which is always a bit of a challenge when you’re with others all day long, and faced with many attractions and distractions. The question is always what do I bring with me? When I left on Monday, I was in the midst of a final edit and proofing of the second novel in my Casey series. This requires concentration, so that book stayed home. I’d also finished the first draft of my fourth Casey, and the whole novel needed to be read again slowly and carefully to begin the second draft. That book stayed home, too.

Waiting in airports and flying offers plenty of time to think about works in progress, so I brought a short story I’d started in the summer, but hadn’t finished, and began plotting my fifth novel. They turned out to be good choices. The short story is almost finished, and I’ve outlined half of the book.

It takes some thought to figure out which writing projects will best fit your traveling schedule, but once you do, those airport waits and long hours of flying could turn out to be one of your most productive times of the year. Good luck, and bon voyage!

Coming in March 2011, THE OPPOSITE OF DARK,

My Alex Bellamy mysteries can be purchased at


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