My goal for this series of blog posts is for writers to save themselves a lot of time and frustration. This series is meant to get you on the path toward publication, provided you put in the work of writing and revising. Don't worry if you don't follow all these recommendations--who could? I'll be the first to admit that even I'm guilty of sometimes not using my time wisely--look for my tip on social media! But overall this series contains hard-won truths on how to make writing a bigger part of your life. I hope it clarifies the publishing guidelines, professional etiquette, and protocols you may have been unsure about in the past. More than anything, I hope it puts you on track toward opportunities you may not have imagined.
Nothing seems to spark my imagination quite like travel. There's something about the sense of everything in motion and the newness of everything that heightens my awareness. And I'm not alone in this. Many writers have found inspiration in changing their surroundings. Look at Hemingway's classic tale of life in 1920's Paris, A Moveable Feast or Jack Kerouac's epic American adventure On the Road. Don't let opportunities for travel come and go without taking notes because a change in your surroundings has the power to jumpstart your creative side.
When I travel I always make sure to take along a notebook. On my honeymoon I took along a new journal and filled it with observations for those two weeks we were in Sicily. To this day I still have the journal and reread it sometimes. Some poems even came out of the experience and I've toyed with the idea of using Sicily as a location in a novel.
In short, if you feel that your writing life has gone a bit stagnant, I'm a firm believer that travel can be a good antidote. For the writer, travel can awaken ideas you perhaps hadn't considered: maybe you'd like to use the place as a setting in a novel, or maybe there's a quality about the place that begs to be captured in a poem. Either way, be open to your surroundings. Write everything down.
Tasha Cotter, @TashCotter, is a poet and fiction writer based in Lexington, Kentucky. She is the author of two chapbooks of poetry and the full-length collection, Some Churches (Gold Wake Press, 2013). You can find her online at www.tashacotter.com.