Cobblestone streets, spicy foreign aromas, voices and accents you can’t understand. You are living the dream. After all isn’t this a massive perk of being a writer? Being able to have adventures in exotic lands while simultaneously getting crafting your masterpiece? The reality however is somewhat different – working from hotel beds, laptop perched precariously on top of pillows. Jet-lagged, waking and sleeping at odd times, feeling out of touch with the rest of the world. Wondering how to market your book, much less write the next one while on the road. Fresh from a working trip to Mexico. I’ve learnt a thing or two about maintaining productivity while seeing the sights. Here are my top tips for book marketing and writing as you see the world, or at least a beach bar.
Balance is key
Be prepared to strike a balance between sightseeing and working. This sounds logical but it’s taken me a while to get used to the idea that although the location is exotic the principles of work, shutting out the outside world and getting the job done, remain the same. In Mexico I stuck to a rough guide of working four days a week and taking the other three off for sightseeing and travel.
Set yourself a schedule.
Work out how fast or slowly you intend to travel. Block out time for travel days and logistics planning. Researching the next location and how to get there takes time and working as you go means a slower pace of travel. Set yourself a rough daily schedule of when you intend to work and where.
Try to maintain regular hours for the city you are in
I have a confession I absolutely love sleeping late. Faced with jetlag (or just a total lack of schedule) I’ll happily let my waking times slide into the afternoon and end up working well into the night. Before I realize it I’ve morphed into some kind of vampire that only sees a few hours of day time. In recent times I have learnt to catch this habit as I see it occurring and push the bedtime hours forward.
Use scheduling tools
Buffer and Hootsuite are free and can make your life way easier. If you know you are going to be offline, you have solid days of traveling ahead of you or you going climb that amazing volcano then make sure to schedule up your blog and social media posts ahead of time. Also use the auto-responder on your emails.
Plan mini-breaks throughout the day
Lunch break in different spots. Even with a tight deadline to make you can give yourself a few hours around lunchtime or dinner to walk around and see some of the city.
Know that things will take longer
Trying to get things done in a foreign language. Coping with distractions, random parades, a public holiday that you didn’t know existed can be a challenge. Things don’t always go to plan (as anyone who has attempted to film a YouTube video in the middle of Mexico City will tell you). One time I planned an uber-productive day only to have the Air BnB bathroom overflow down the corridor. By the time I had it under-control several hours of my day had gone. These distractions are part of the joy and frustration of travel so expect them to occur.
Relax and enjoy it every once in a while
You truly are living the dream. Don’t forget to look up from your keyboard (or stash the laptop away) every once and while to fully enjoy it.