Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Road Trips and Writing

Hubby and I went on a road trip yesterday. I enjoy spending time with him and watching the scenery go by my window. There's a lot you need to plan for before starting on a trip: checking the car, taking reading material, and, of course, packing treats to enjoy on the way.

Bruce always checks the car, he tests the tires, looks at the engine and makes sure we have fuel. He also takes a few tools in case we need them and we always have a small first aid kit in the car, just in case. 

Taking reading material on a road trip helps pass the time. On this trip I took one of my novels to read that I want to send to my editor. I was able to read about thirty-six pages out loud before my voice gave out. 

Since we're both trying to lose weight, the treats we took were healthy: apples, oranges, and granola bars. Did we eat them? Well . . . I'll tell you later.

As we traveled I thought how writing a novel is like going on a road trip.

First  you check out your vehicle--this could be as fundamental as making sure your computer works, that you have the right software, and even enough ink in the printer to something more along the lines of plotting and character development, but it all boils down to--are you prepared to embark on the wonderful adventure of writing a novel?

Second, you need to read your novel, not once or twice but as many times as it takes to make your story shine. And reading out loud is a must for me. A writer can sometimes develop writer's blindness (seeing words in your manuscript that aren't there) and reading out loud will many times help me catch the mistake.

Third, packing treats for the trip. I don't know about you, but as I write I love to nibble. Sometimes it's healthy (celery sticks and carrots) sometimes it's not (jelly beans and chocolate chips). 

What do you do to prepare for the road trip of writing a book? I'd love to add your thoughts to my list.

(By the way, we didn't touch the health treats, but that doesn't mean we didn't stick to our diets. Bruce bought donuts at a rest stop, but we didn't even open the package. How good is that?)


  1. Great analogy. And you passed up donuts??? :)

  2. I have to read my work out loud, too. It helps me catch many errors my eyes fail to see!

    I don't usually snack when I write because I don't want my laptop and materials getting messy! I'm a neat freak, lol.

  3. Carol,
    I know, how insane is passing on donuts? But I'm determined to lose more than Hubby and he's determined to lose more than me. So there the donuts sat. :)

  4. Laura,
    Reading out loud helps a lot! I use to be a neat freak. I wonder what happened. :/

  5. Kathi, you have more willpower than I have when it comes to sticking to the healthy snacks. (I do eat pistachios and almonds a lot when I'm writing...)

    I like the road trip analogy. I'd add that I like to have my research done before I begin, so would that be a packed suitcase in the trunk?

    Great post!

  6. Stacy,
    Yes, research could definitely be a packed suitcase in the trunk. I like that a lot! Thanks! :)

    My willpower is actually motivated with the thought of having new promotion pictures taken by the end of January. Yikes!

    I love pistachios and almonds. But I find once I start eating them I have a hard time stopping. I've been chewing a lot of gum lately. Not the same, but it helps a little.

  7. What a great analogy Kathi!

    I'm not sure I've ever put that much thought into it, lol! But that's kind of how we are about road trippin' too. We just GO. So yeah. That's how I write too, I guess.

  8. Ali,
    Thanks! From what I've read on your blog, you put a lot of thought into your stories even though you don't realize it. :)

  9. Great advice. When I started writing, I didn't know there was so much to do before actually getting into the writing. =)

    How you had a great trip! Did you eat the apples and oranges?

  10. Carolyn,
    We did have a nice, safe trip. I ate the apples after I got home. Go figure. :)



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