Writing Travel – How to Organise a Trip for the Writing Soul

It all started with one question “what would I do if I was a full time writer?”. The answer was pretty simple: write, days in a row, all day; if possible, in a nice place.

A long weekend was coming up. I was single (still am) and had no plans for the long weekend coming up and decided to do just that. I chose a mountain nearby, found a Bed & Breakfast, paid with frequent flyer points and spent four days in heaven and finished a book. I travelled with the train, and for that trip, spent very little. Then I was hooked, I am now on my fifth writing trip in one year and a half.

It took me a few more trips to correct, edit and rewrite the book, to get it ready for publishing and I am here, on another trip, working on the book proposal and on my blogs, which get neglected when I’m writing a longer project.

I recommend the travel writing strategy to all aspiring writers who still need to work full time. Make arrangements with partners and children, mothers and friends, make this your time and make it sacred and uninterruptible. I ascribe to Mike Dooley’s precept of “do what you can, from where you are, with what you’ve got”, it cannot fail.

 

What to look for?

  1. What resources do you have, what can you spend?
  2. What type of places and views inspire you the most within your possibilities?
  3. Avoid distractions / do you need a place with no connectivity?
  4. Which sort of place makes you most productive?

Search your soul for your answers and find the resources. At the moment I am cat & house-sitting a friend’s house in the countryside, overviewing green hills, with the sound of a creek in the background and jumping wallabies in the forefront, the sound of birds and crickets lulling me. This is my ideal setup.  Yours might be a busy city with numerous cafes with fantastic Wifi. It might be an ocean view, or a quiet house. Although I love the water, for writing, green hills are even better.

Get the closest you can to your dream. Think of house sitting for a friend, or paying one AirBnb while renting your house out to someone else. It might mean house swapping and looking at a friend’s plastic swimming pool at their backyard. If that is the closest you can get to the ocean, so be it, the different environment, your imagination and your commitment are to be enough enough.

 

No bull, no lies

I have a perfectly nice apartment, with a desk overlooking the neighbourhood, looking out of a large door, I could lie to myself and say I would stay in and write all weekend. It would be so much cheaper than travelling and I could do it EVERY weekend! But, I would be lying to myself. I get distracted and anxious with what I am not doing, not going to the beach or not talking to my friends, the dishes need washing, there is food in the fridge that will go off if you don’t cook it, all 300kg of it, and the clothes might self destruct if you don’t wash them today.

During my writing masters I did that, spent weekends working on assignments and I’ve managed with a great degree of pain. While being away, writing eight hours a day feels effortless.

Remember to think not of what you SHOULD do, but what you DO do. Think of what is reality for you, not what works for other people.

 

Positioning

Make sure your friends and family know the hours you are unavailable, take it seriously and impose boundaries. I love places with limited mobile connection so I don’t feel obligated to answer messages and phone calls. More important than others is to make sure YOU understand the restrictions and don’t let yourself waste days lost in distraction and resistance.

 

The Enemy

Talking about resistance, usually, a writer’s most persistent enemy is her/his own head. The fear about the quality of what we write, the terror of finishing a project, the angst about the research, the character or the plot…

To understand more about resistance, I recommend “The Icarus Deception” from Seth Godin. He explains it perfectly. Work on your internal mindset in advance of the trip. Be emotionally prepared so you can make the most of the effort and time.

 

The Plan

Have a broad plan of what you want to work on. Is it a book? An article? What would you like to accomplish? Don’t be too strict, avoid creating unrealistic expectations that will make you feel under pressure and anxious during the writing time. The plan is just to get you ready to get to work straight away. Once you start, whatever comes of it is perfect.

My plan for this trip was:

  1. Finishing my book proposal to send to literary agents;
  2. Send it for editing and proofreading (hiring the freelancer and sending them the material);
  3. Work on my blogs; so when the agents look at my sites they can see some recent action and a fresh sample of my writing; and
  4. Reserve time for free inspired writing, in whatever inspires me at the time.

 

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Free inspired writing

What I call free inspired writing is what comes out when you are turning off your critical self, sending it off to a vacation somewhere else, far from you, or give it a sleeping pill. To get to it, you must forget all the shoulds, don’t worry about the quality or the quantity, turn off the inner and outer voices that are constantly criticising, analysing, commenting and evaluating. Eliminate judgement, scratch too long, too short, too emotional, too detailed, not enough description, not enough… you got the gist. Let it be, let it be… sing with me.

Free inspired writing is a first-first draft, it is raw and imperfect, full of mistakes and with absurds in logic, but it contains the CORE. The seed of what it will become. And, creating it, writing like that, is the joy.

 

Trust yourself

You need to make the commitment to have your work re-written, edited, criticised, proofread. By yourself and others, pulling up any resources available. It could be writing groups, asking friends to read your material, hiring freelancers, or, if you have the means, paying high-end editing professionals. By knowing that the writing will be put to its highest quality, you free your inner-first-drafter to do the free inspired writing I have mentioned above.

 

Keep the good habits

On the other hand, when writing your first draft, keep some good habits to avoid a proofreading nightmare in the future. At least make sure the ideas are clear, use capitals and good punctuation, set a minimum standard.

 

Mean business

When I get to my writing location I do what I need to show myself I mean business. What works for me is waking up in the morning and getting ready as if I was going to my regular job. I usually dress more comfortably but I still get dressed, put earrings on (earrings mean I’m not naked or sleeping), make my bed (so I don’t feel temped to go back to it and read the day away), have breakfast, make myself a nice extra cup of coffee, get my writing gear to the chosen writing location. Sit down and write for as many hours as I feel like.

What is your signal? What do you need to do to tell yourself that you are here to write? Pyjamas? Lighting a magic candle? A nice cup of green tea with pomegranate? Do it. Make it a symbol to your inner writer that says “ready, go!”

 

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PACKING CHECKLIST

What you need to remember to take with you:

  • Your project notes or file (remember everything you need including voice memos)
  • Your laptop or writing pad or typewriter – your chosen writing instrument
  • Accessories needed: mouse, internet dongle, pens, paper, extra typing tape
  • Power: laptop powering cables, extra batteries for mouse
  • Special screen cleaning wipes
  • Writing/reading glasses
  • Notebook or sketch pad if you use them for support
  • Favourite pen / extra ink (fountain pens) / extra pens and pencils
  • Download any needed research and support material, if you won’t have connectivity
  • Download music for writing; many writers have the right music for the right project, make it ready and available offline. Create the right playlist in advance, if you need it.
  • What item is essential for your highest productive writing
  • Think of food

 

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What is essential for you?

For me, it is coffee. That is why I bought a mini expresso making machine and a portable frother. It doesn’t matter where I go, I can make the perfect cup of coffee. Tea, chocolate, nuts, candles, what is the little thing that works for you? Remember to pack it.

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Thinking of food

Food can be one of the most time consuming and most effective distractions in a writer’s working day. I recommend thinking of food in advance, either preparing a few nutritious easy meals in advance, or researching the food delivery options near the location where you will be staying. I get organised to have a few days of easy food at hand, so I don’t waste too long with meals and can dedicate most of the time to the writing.

 

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Alone and completely connected

Writers are a strange breed… If I told my friends that their holidays would be spending alone writing at least 8 hours a day, most of them would think it’s a punishment. Instead, I feel so connected to the world, to myself and my mission in life, to my real purpose, that I come back happy, refreshed, inspired and can’t wait to start planning the next writing trip.

Right now, I’m on a covered balcony, overlooking green hills. I am listening to the creek’s water music, the birds are singing, a cockatoo is screeching, a light rain is starting to fall… I can smell the grass and the bush, the wet soil; I can see the sun on a far away mountain and the mist crowning another, as a halo, I hear the thump-thump of a wallaby moving nearby. I can almost distinguish the sound of each drop of rain fall, while my fingers fly over my keyboard, and I smile.

These trips make me feel like I’m doing what my soul was put in this Earth to do. I have no idea if that is true or not, but this is free inspired writing right? So, who cares!

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To Roam the Earth and Write About It

Amazing Dubai
A few months ago I was finally able to answer that old question: what do I want to do when I grow up? Well, it may seem that people would only ask that when they are kids but in reality, most of us spend good many hours of our whole lives pondering over it.
My answer is: to roam the earth and write about it…
Well, suddenly I found myself a chance to do just that; and here I am.
I have just arrived in Brazil, with the objective and excuse as to publish my two written books. On my way I have spent four incredible days in the amazing Dubai.
During those days I exercised something that seldom in life we have chance to do: total free will. Being by myself it was delicious to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
I have experienced and delighted in being in “Arabia”, with its new buildings, different smells, spices and lands. Admired the whole of the construction site the city is and was amazed by the vision these people had in creating for them a new future and literally creating new lands.
They simply decide to put sand over the water and build new islands in the most fantastic shapes!
It was a well worth experience and I count my blessings.
I have no idea where the path will take me, like Tolkien says, when you are out of your door, it is the road that takes you…
(Orble Votes: 112)

Background Check

Sculpture by the Sea 2009 – Sydney – Bondi

There are so many things in life we actually never think exist. Companies that exist solely to verify the details that people provided when applying for jobs, for example. I’m temporarily working for one of these while I’m still searching for a permanent position.
My job is to verify Employment History from candidates for jobs in big financial corporations.
From this I’m getting some funny stories, as it is my style to do wherever I am.
The best story was when I called a fashion store. I don’t want to put the name of the company here, so let’s say I called Fashion. It is a big company with stores all over Australia.
Imagined I called “Fashion” and asked for payroll or HR.
The sales girl – that sounded very young and was screaming against a loud music background – answered me promptly:
– THIS IS FASHION, NOT PAYROLL!!! YOU CALLED THE WRONG COMPANY!
I couldn’t stop laughing for half an hour.

Another detail I noticed is the latest trends on “firing people” vocabulary, my favourite of all times is “retrenched”. To have been “made redundant” is already old. People are now “retrenched”. I think as you really can’t say what it means you will not feel that you were fired. HR departments have all this psychology behind what they write in your files…
I don’t think it makes a lot of difference when we are out of a job the name they gave to our “disconnection” but well, it’s funny to see how they are so creative.
Another interesting set of special names I just found out is that I started to find some positions as being: 2IC, 1IC, 3IC… I had no idea what they meant. I discovered it is very simple: Second In Command! First or Third In Command! So funny!

(Orble Votes: 66)

RITMO Brazilian Festival 2009

Flyer of Ritmo – Brazilian Festival in Sydney 2009

“Ritmo” means “rhythm” and it is the name for this Brazilian Cultural celebration, an initiative of BraCCA, Brazilian Community Council of Australia. The event has been happening since 2001 and this is its ninth edition, it was created as part of the celebration of Brazil’s 500 years anniversary. Ritmo Brazilian Festival is scheduled for the 20th September 2009 at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour, one of Sydney’s most breathtaking sites. This event is so important that it has a date kept in reserve in Sydney’s calendar every year.
Attendees are entertained with the range of activities, involving music, dance and food. Starting at 11 am RITMO is a major showcase of Brazilian culture in Australia and also the most important event for the Brazilian community in the country. Ritmo is sponsored by several companies such as Sagatiba, LAN, Real Transfer, Sydney Foreshore Authority e o General Consulate of Brazil that believe in the continuous success of the festival.
The expectation is for 27,000 participants this year, seven thousand more than the record number achieved in 2008. BraCCA has plans to have an important event in 2010 to marc it’s 10 years of existance. The big success of this festival is due to the charismatic ways of the Brazilian people and the diversity of presentations such as Capoeira, Samba, Axé, Pagode, other traditional dances from Northeast and Brazilian popular music performances.
Great artists are confirmed with the special participation of Gianne Abbott, Brazilian dancer among the top 10 on “So You Think You Can Dance 2009” TV Series from Channel 10; also Latin Dance Australia; Umbela Brasil and Brazilian Latin Dance Company will shine uppon Ritmo’s stage. The bands Samba Austrália; Pisa na Fulo; Ziggy & Wild Drums and Performing Brazil will bring great music.
This is an opportunity to try the best of the Brazilian food and drinks, like Feijoada, a traditional Brazilian dish made with black beans, pork and sausages and eaten with rice. Brazilian cuisine is a mixture of exotic ingredients with a hint of passion. At Ritmo there will be an array of exquisite flavours to be tasted.
People can learn the true meaning of the word Ginga with the amazing display of acrobatic movements from Capoeira, an African-Brazilian style of martial arts. With Capoeira Brazil; Capoeira Abada and Capoeira Aruanda you will discover why Samba is famous worldwide. During the day you will also see arts and crafts from all over Brazil. It is a place to bring a picnic rug, slather on the sunscreen, sit back, enjoy the show and have a fun day out. The entrance is free!
It is a day to join the nation that introduced Samba to the world for a time filled with its joys and colours, live music and dancing. An occasion to share the tolerant and harmonic atmosphere when the Brazilian people join the Australian multiculturalism, sharing what is their best with all other cultures.

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Summary: Ritmo – Brazilian Festival:

20th September 2009
Tumbalong Park – Darling Harbour
Sydney – NSW – Australia
From 11am to 6pm
Free entrance
Food: Try popular foods Feijoada, Pastel e Coxinha, Churros, Churrasco and Popcorn & Guaraná
Caipirinha Bar: Enjoy Brazil’s favourite cocktail and learn how to make it
Bands:
– Samba Australia
– Pisa na Fulo
– Ziggy and Wild Drums
– Performing Brazil
Dance:
– Gianne Abbott
– Latin Dance Australia
– Umbela Brasil
– Brazilian Latin Dance Company
Capoeira:
– Capoeira Brazil
– Capoeira Abada
– Capoeira Aruanda

Sponsors:
Sagatiba, LAN, Real Transfer, Sydney Foreshore Authority e o Consulado Geral do Brasil

Further information: events@bracca.org

Contacts:

BraCCA – Brazilian Community Council of Australia

BraCCA is a non-profit organisation located in Sydney, NSW, Australia, with the main purposes of promoting the Brazilian Culture, representing the needs of the Brazilian Community to government both in Brazil and Australia; to further motivate the cultural interchange and relations between Brazil and Australia.

Hut 45A 142 Addison Road, Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone: (02) 9560-6866

(Orble Votes: 75)

Guide to Brazilian Food Part 2

Side Dishes…

There are a number of varieties of side dishes in Brazilian cooking, each region holds their own.
Here are a few that are all time favourites of mine.

Palm heart salads are very tasty and very light, if I could do a diet eating just that and fresh asparagus I would be happy for a long time even on diet! They don’t even need seasoning but they are awesome with some olive oil and salt.

Deep fried bananas are delicious with red meat.
Deep fried zucchinis are delicious with anything.

Then you have polenta from Italian’s influences.

My tummy smiles just to think about it!

(Orble Votes: 52)

Aussielian at last! My Citizenship was approved!

I am immensely happy to tell you that my Australian Citizenship was approved!!

I just have to wait for the ceremony to make the pledge now…
I’m an official Aussielian (Aussie Brazilian)!
I arrived in Sydney in September 2003 and on the second day I knew this was the place I wanted to live at. I felt the feeling of “I have arrived. I’m home”. Since then I have left here a few times and upon each return it all comes back: the tears in my eyes, the certainty that this is my place, my life and it burns inside me a deep love for it.

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I will always carry my Brazilian roots proudly, my rhythm, my smile, my dance and outgoing ways, will display the best of my mother’s culture. I will want to visit and go back a few times too. But I have been born an alien there to find myself here.
As I will pledge shortly, my soul goes to Australia and its people, its multiculturalism with tolerance and organization. And to all the dreams I have realised and the ones that are coming now…
Beijos to all Australians and Aussielians!

(Orble Votes: 113)

Inspired Coffee Quotes

Putting my Coffee Quotes together has made me happy and light. They remind me how I feel every morning: hopeful of a great day, then I have no other option then having an inspiring day. Here is my chosen from this series: “Coffee is the Sunrise of the Brain!”

This is a continuation of two other posts:
https://writtenlife.me/2009/04/09/my-daily-coffee-quotes/
https://writtenlife.me/2009/03/04/our-daily-coffee-nonsense-and-my-coffee-quotes/

Have Fun!Our Daily Coffee Nonsense …

Tuesday
Coffee after a long weekend is like a powerful reminder of good times, the aroma bring flashbacks of other coffees and sends you to the present and future with a light beat in your heart …

Wednesday
Drinking good Coffee is like tapping into an endless font of energy…

Thursday
Coffee in the morning is like a nice hug, it warms you up…

Friday
Tasting a good coffee is like surfing in good feelings…

Monday
Real coffee is like that: like real life…

Wednesday
Coffee makes taste buds act like little kids in a candy store, leaping and screaming YEY!!!

Thursday
Good coffee in the morning makes me laugh like a little kid being tickled.

Friday
Coffee goes well with everything, any day, any how… specially Friday morning.

Monday
A cup of coffee in the morning is like meeting a dear friend you haven’t seen for some time…

Tuesday
Coffee is that 5 min break that gets your brain into gear so you can launch into activity!

Wednesday
Coffee makes your brain go teenager and “ROTFLUTS” (roll on the floor laughing, unable to speak).

Thursday
Coffee and chocolate the stuff that dreams come from…

Friday
Coffee on a cold morning is making your taste buds feel like children in a candy store… happy happy happy!

Monday
Coffee is a good reminder that life is good.

Tuesday
Coffee is like endorphins, it can make you glow…

Wednesday
By only mentioning it I can already smell it: coffee! Can’t you?

Thursday
I believe in special days as well as special coffees…

Friday
Have a great, awesome, inspiring, delicious, full Moon Friday! Coffee makes your brain say: “I’m ALIVE!!!”

Monday
Coffee & mornings: an eternal love affair…

Tuesday
Some days you are so sleepy you don’t want to drink your coffee, you want to chew it up! Thank God for coffee every morning!

Wednesday
Coffee sends liquid energy through the veins and you feel like running 100 k or attacking the same length of mathematical problems… A bit less maybe?

Friday
Cold morning Sunshine good Coffee Friday = a perfect day… All that chocolate = Heaven!

Monday
Nothing like tasty Coffee to make you ready for the week ride!

Tuesday
Coffee makes you remember how alive you are and forget what doesn’t matter. It’s a sip into the future…

Wednesday
Coffee gives you energy to travel in body or mind and to explore new thoughts or lands…

Thursday
Coffee is like a productivity machine: it goes in, ideas and activities come out!

Monday
Coffee has the power to bring the future to you, as soon as it gets into your gut you start doing things today that were planned for tomorrow…

Tuesday
Coffee gets you ready for life’s trip, either mental or real, anywhere, anyhow…

Wednesday
Coffee is like the internet: You can connect to the world through the net, coffee connects your brain to life!

Thursday
Nothing like coffee, cream and friends to make your life good.

Monday
Coffee can help you go way beyond your limits… you feel like you can conquer the world !

Tuesday
Coffee can get your mind out of the rain, into the sun, sailing the vast world.

Wednesday
Coffee can always remind you of good moments with friends, it doesn’t matter if they are close or far…

Thursday
Coffee can make you feel like a pagan god… full of power!

Friday
Coffee can make you travel around the world in a thought!

Tuesday
Coffee is the answer for a productive day after a productive weekend!

Wednesday
Quick coffee is like quick thinking: pure energy!

Thursday
Enjoying your morning coffee is living in the present, taking the most from the moment, benefiting profoundly from an opportunity; therefore coffee is like spirituality and business strategies in a cup!

Friday
Coffee is great to warm up the heart and the brain!

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Monday
Outdoors coffee on a sunny day is the perfect way to start a week. Enjoy the sun on your face, close your eyes, breathe deeply and feel the goodness spreading to your whole body!

Tuesday
Strong black coffee is like having a loud voice in your brain screaming: WAKE UP! : – ) it works!!!

Wednesday
A good morning should always start with good coffee and maybe a chocolate or two

Thursday
After a lovely cup of coffee there is no other option: you have to have a great day!

Tuesday
Coffee can transform your day as you can transform you life with a thought!

Wednesday
Coffee is the paradise of the senses!

Thursday
Black coffee is the food for extraordinary thoughts in a powerful mind.

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(Orble Votes: 71)