1. Make your trip count. Take that trip to some place you've always wanted to write about or some place you've read about that you've always wanted to visit. Visiting a new place always can foster new story ideas or new places to set your book. Take that trip to Hawaii or Europe and use the location, but summer vacation can be a great time to get in some writing while you are sitting at the beach and soaking in the sun. Take a trip to the beach at sunset and enjoy the last rays of the day, or sit in an outdoor cafe and observe the people and listen to the special sounds of that particular place. Because let's face it, whenever your are on the road, you should....
2. Observe your particular location. When I say observe, think about how you would describe it as
3. Try those little dining spots that are not necessarily in the tourist guide books. Look for the local coffee shops in the neighborhoods or the small diners or ethnic food places. Try them out. It not only will enhance the vacation, but can also be good food for thought next time you are writing a book.
4. Talk to the local people. Pick up on any local accents, the way people dress, even the items on the local menus. When I was travelling across the country with my family we made it a rule that we were going to eat whatever the local delicacies were. From Texas to Maine we enjoyed Mexican food and steak in Dallas, then Cajun in Louisiana, all the way up to crab in Baltimore and lobster in Maine. We even had to stop by in Hershey, Pa and buy chocolate.
5. Keep a travel notebook and make good notes. And keep taking them, and updating and updating. When we went across country my mother started taking notes the minute we left Colorado and crossed over into Kansas. She had great notes on the farms of Kansas and even listed all the foods we had those first days. By the time we reached the East coast she had lots of blank pages and was trying to remember instead of instantly writing as she witnessed things.
So enjoy your summer vacation, but keep notes and pictures, and if you aren't a photographer, buy postcards. I began collecting postcards the minute I left home for college. I have cards from all 45 states I've visited -- from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic to the beaches of Hawaii and the glaciers of Alaska.
Enjoy your summer trip, and if you find yourself sitting and waiting at an airport or on a long plane ride, try some writing to fill the time. Or pick up a book by a new author or try reading in a new genre.
There's always lots you can do before getting back to work on your next book.