So for those of you who don’t know, I’m studying abroad in Spain this semester and taking classes in Spanish. If you’d like to follow my travels, go to MollyinSpain and subscribe to get an email (about once a week) about what I’ve been up to, including pictures. I’ve already been to several Spanish cities and Amsterdam and have trips planned to London, Portugal, Morocco, Italy, and more.
Also, if you haven’t yet subscribed to this, my writing blog, you can do the same on the menu on the right! I post reviews of Young Adult books, tips on writing and publishing, announcements, and free stories I’ve published 🙂
Currently I’m working on my third novel. How do I do that while abroad, living with a host family that doesn’t speak English, and traveling every weekend? It’s definitely hard but here are a few tips I’ve learned so far.
- Get GoogleDocs or some other app you can use without WiFi. I have it on my phone and set the document to “available offline”.
- Write in the short periods of waiting time. (I’m writing this post at the bus stop). You can also take advantage of time before class, waiting in line, plane/bus/train rides.
- If you are working in short chunks, it’s ok to write notes or random scenes rather than just going from start to finish.
- Find someone else who wants to set aside time (for reading, writing, whatever). A friend of mine here is a playwright so we are scheduling in time to meet up and write together. Great for accountability, to have someone to talk things through if you’re stuck, and to make sure it doesn’t keep getting pushed to “tomorrow” (we’ve all done it).
- Read. In your language or the host country’s. I bought some secondhand books for a few Euros in Spanish. Not only will it help me with my Spanish skills, (like reading any book) it’ll help me learn how great authors plot, characterize, etc, and from a new perspective.
- Audiobooks while you walk. Like 5, but great for running, walking, or working out. You can also read while you stationary bike at the gym. (Plus, neuroscience bonus, you remember things better if you read them while working out).
- If you don’t have waiting time in your day, make some. I’ll show up to school or excursions a few minutes early and write. Since you know there’s a deadline, it’s easier to keep from procrastinating. Bonus points if you’re waiting outside in the sun.
- Keep a travel journal or blog. Huh if only someone had an example for you to look at… like this one… it’s great to use later, for inspiration, characterization, plot, etc. You might even find some juicy descriptive sentences you can transplant into your work. Plus, as a bonus, you’ll remember more of your trip and can look back later, nostalgically.
- Have fun, and be kind to yourself. Push yourself to write if you can, but be ok if it doesn’t end up happening as often as you think.