Tag Archives: travel writing

Writing and Airports

4 Aug

Writing and airports. What do they have in common? I’m sure I could come up with a creative joke, but I’d rather move right on to this writing prompt. For the past few weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time in, out, and around airports. Those little moments brought lingering thoughts of potential plots and/or characters. Why? Because I was surrounded by new people every second, and getting out of the house can truly clear the clouded mind.

This is why I want to talk about “people watching.” I think it’s a commonly used phrase, but if you haven’t heard it before it means exactly what it sounds like: watching people. A lot of people do this for all kinds of reasons: to learn, to recognize behavioral patterns, etc. But I think this is a great opportunity for writers, because writers put a lot of pressure on themselves within their stories to make it as believable as possible (even if it’s completely fiction.) So how do writers get around this conundrum of creating the illusion of fiction seeming factual?

We study. We research. We talk to anyone we know who might have experience in the topics or attitudes we want to write about. But what happens when this inspiration runs out, and we get writer’s block?

We have to find a way around it.

I just took my father to the airport for a trip to Alaska. Traveling is a great way to spark the writing flame too. This is from our trip to DC in 2010.

I just took my father to the airport for a trip to Alaska. Traveling is a great way to spark the writing flame too. This is from our trip to DC in 2010.

Now, I have to clarify that I really believe writer’s block comes from one of two things:

1. Forcing something to happen.

2. Putting pressures on yourself for all kinds of reasons.

But I still think we get out of writer’s block by taking a step back and returning to the simple love of writing–or, what I call, the imagination.

Airports are full of imagination opportunities: different people, coming and going to who knows where. Possibility excites me, and writing in airports brought a sense of freedom I forget to practice sometimes. In a way, this writing prompt is less about writing in airports and more about switching things up. For instance, if you always write at home, try going to the coffee shop a few days in a row. I say a few days in a row, because it often takes some time to feel comfortable enough with the new area to fall in to the fluidity of writing.

This is why I have a journal specifically for traveling. I seem to notice more when I’m traveling, because I’m attempting to take everything in all of the time. Some of my favorite writing is while I’m in moments like this, because I can focus ten times more than I can on a day-to-day basis.

So write while your on vacation this summer. Try going to a new place to reignite your passion for the imagination–like an airport or park. You might be surprised–your writing can change, even if only for a moment.

~SAT

%d bloggers like this: