Every writer has certain tools they rely on daily, from reference books to cached webpages, to stacks of notes, to file templates. When those tools are unavailable, productivity can plummet, and with it, a writer’s income, unless you take careful steps for the time you must spend away from your office. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, for just a few days, or a longer trip, it is possible to keep working no matter how far away your office is.
Before You Travel
The best way to stay productive when traveling is to properly prepare for time out of your office. First, finish critical, time-sensitive tasks before leaving, and you won’t need to worry when travel plans change and you’re not able to work as much as you might have assumed. If some of your work requires high-speed internet access, finish those tasks as well, if you can’t be certain of reliable internet access on your trip. Back up any templates you may need while traveling, and be sure your virus protection software is thoroughly updated before you might connect to unknown networks.
Just like some clothes are more travel-friendly than others, some work tasks are better suited to traveling. Flexible writers take advantage of out-of-office workdays to accomplish tasks that always seem to get pushed aside during typical writing time.
- Don’t have access to a computer while traveling? Print hardcopy pages before you leave for some fresh-eyes proofreading and editing.
- Not able to concentrate during traveling distractions? Use short work periods to catch up on overdue emails.
- Is reading part of your vacation? Multitask and read an author you admire to learn their tricks, or study sample copies of magazines you want to pitch.
- Are you seeing and experiencing many new things? Keep an inspiration list of project ideas, and brainstorm more writing opportunities.
Where to Work
Long gone are the days when writers worked in seclusion and the Internet was a luxury; a productive, profitable writing career demands regular, reliable online access, but that isn’t always possible while traveling. Before you pack, however, you can ensure at least some Internet access if you plan your route to take advantage of complimentary Internet services. If you will be flying, check for airports that offer free WiFi and investigate what access they offer Ò whether there are time limits on each session or if there will be ads to contend with as you work. While most hotels do include Internet access, check for limitations on that as well, and be sure you can have some opportunity to get online when needed.
Even if you can’t get online easily, there are many other places that may offer free WiFi for guests, patrons, and customers, including:
- Libraries and bookstores
- Cafes or coffee shops
In some cities, even large, popular parks may have WiFi hotspots, and savvy writers will not only go online, but will use the opportunity to get a new perspective on their work in a new place, or to gain new inspiration from new surroundings. (Tip: Look for free WiFi hotspots before you travel with WiFiFreeSpot.com.)
With proper preparation, even the most office-bound writer can be inspired and productive when out of the office. By planning the right writing tasks to take on the road and where to reconnect for essentials, any “off” day can still be a productive and profitable one.
Melissa Mayntz is a Utah-based freelance writer and creative, fresh-eyes editor, and has been published in newsletters, magazines, newspapers and websites. Visit MelissaMayntz.com for details on her work and services.