This is my entry into Robert Hruzek’s group writing project on what I learned from travel. With apologies to Robert, I’m going to expand on the theme a little bit and share what I learned about writing from travel.
That’s right, this is a writing blog so I’ve decided to integrate writing into the project. Before you boo and hiss at me, let me assure you that the integration really does make sense.
When I worked in the corporate world I traveled a bit more than I do now. Almost all of that travel was done by plane. Here are three key points that I learned about travel that also apply to writing:
1. It’s Better To Travel Light
When you are traveling by plane you are only allowed to bring so much luggage with you on the plane. If you exceed that limit you will be faced with two problems. First, you will have to check that luggage, which means there will be an extra wait at the end of your trip while you gather your bags together. Second, you will have to carry all those extra bags to whatever transportation you have to wherever it is that you are going.
How does traveling light apply to writing? Simply put, just like with luggage, it’s better to pare away extra words when you write. Simpler is better. If you add the extra words anyway you will find yourself with two problems. First, your readers will need extra time to read your writing (which means that some readers won’t finish reading your piece at all). Second, just like the extra bags that weigh you down, extra words bog down your writing and make it heard for your reader to understand what you are saying.
2. The Direct Route Is Usually Best
As an airline traveler I had to choose whether I wanted a direct flight to my destination or flight with several layovers. If I chose the layover, I often found myself wasting an entire day in various airports all over the country. Yes, I eventually got where I was going, but by the time that I got there I was tired and cranky. By contrast, if I chose the direct flight I found myself at my destination after only a few hours. If my flight left in the morning, I still had the afternoon available at my destination.
How does the direct route apply to writing? You can probably guess. In most instances it is best to state your point directly and concisely. Yes, you can monkey around in your writing with all kinds of innuendos and other subtle tactics. In most cases an indirect approach will only lead to a tired and frustrated reader who may never discover the true meaning behind your words.
3. If You Pay Attention You Meet Some Interesting People Along The Way
When you fly on an airplane, most of the time there is someone else seated next to you. Now, you can bury yourself in a book or stare out the window and pretend that the person seated next to you doesn’t exist. Or, you can start a conversation. You just may discover somebody who is unique and, well, interesting.
Writing is the same way. You can try to work in a vacuum and pretend that other writers don’t exit. Or, you can network with other writers. When I was in the corporate world I networked through the Society for Technical Communication. Now that I work at home I do my networking through social media and forums. I meet some interesting people that way.
That summarizes the three key points that I learned about writing from travel. I hope that you enjoyed reading them.
If you haven’t submitted your own entry to Robert Hruzek’s group writing project, you’ll want to hurry. The deadline is July 8th.
Contents (c) Copyright 2007, Laura Spencer. All rights reserved.