Taking My Writing On The Road
by Jessica Brown

“I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt.” – Jack Kerouac

“I wasn’t surprised, as always, by how easy the act of writing is while traveling and how good it felt.” – Jessica Spring Brown

Do you write when you are traveling, whether for business or pleasure or both?

I love to write when I am traveling. Nowadays it is mostly for pleasure after 42 years of working; tens years in pediatric nursing and 26 years in corporate America leadership, and 6 years of miscellaneous jobs. But in all that time I have always done some sort of writing while traveling.

In corporate America it was all business emails and reports and write ups for colleagues. All the catch up work that never quite gets caught up even if you write day and night and on the road. I retired back in 2017 when my husband gave me for our anniversary a pair of diamond earrings and a piece of paper. I put on the earrings and then opened the paper and read that the mortgage was paid-in-full and this was the open door to write full time. That piece of paper was my favorite anniversary gift ever!

I still wear and love the earrings, don’t get me wrong. We both worked for decades raising 4 sons, losing 1 to complicated heart problems. We always paid our bills in full and together had a vision of one day traveling when we want to without coordinating with other responsibilities.

“The road must eventually lead to the whole world.” – Jack Kerouac

I cherish that freedom to write full time and will never forget the feeling of the first Monday when I didn’t go to an office (before the pandemic) and got to go to my home office and write full time. I remember taking my personal laptop to work or my index cards with my scenes on them and pinning them to my cubicle or office wall and in-between meetings working on my scenes as I ate my lunch. I would move a card or two around and then rush off to another meeting.

When I got home from working all day or all night, I would pull out my laptop or my index cards and work on the changes I figured out while grabbing some time to write. So the freedoms to write full time is very precious to me. I dreamed about it for a couple of decades. That is why I cherish it so much and take it on the road when I travel.

I love to write and it shouldn’t and doesn’t matter whether I am at home or in a favorite coffee shop or in a far flung place across the world. All it takes is my Phone, or a device or a tablet or notebook and a pen and I can sit anywhere, and I have, and worked on my stories.

I figured it out years ago when I was working full time that you have to do the following things to get your writing time in:

  • Grab the time. Schedule it in. We all have nooks and crannies in our day where we can write even for just a few minutes and make progress on our stories, projects, poems, blogs.
  • Stash your writing tools in your bag or put them out where you can see them. If you have your tools with you, you may be more motivated to write something, anything. I always feel better when I make even the tiniest of progress on my writing.
  • Go into the day with a positive mindset that you will find time somewhere in the day to get your writing done and have a really good time doing it.
  • Treat writing time as a special gift you give yourself after you get your obligations and responsibilities done.
  • Set a timer. If you are squeezing time in to write between other stuff, set a timer and you won’t have to watch the clock but focus on your writing until the timer goes off.
  • Free Flow writing:If you struggle to get into the writing, just start free flow writing. I do Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages routine each day as a way to clear my head and dump all the stuff out of my head that clogs up the creative thinking. If you have never done free flow writing, I highly recommend you try it. There is a saying that we should all clean out our physical and emotional closets every 4 months. I say clean out the emotional closet once a day with free flow writing.

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” – Jack Kerouac

In April I went to Japan with my husband and son Parker. We visited our other son Chase who just earned his permanent residency and lives in Tokyo. My husband did some consulting work while we walked all over Tokyo and Kyoto and took in the sights. We all carried backpacks around with us. I took my iPad Mini and a notebook and pen in mine. I sat on the steps of temples and shrines and museums and in parks and gardens and Starbucks and on the bullet train and worked on my stories. Yes, I looked up from my writing to appreciate the beauty and awe of Japan. I also looked at my writing and enjoyed its beauty and awe. I’m always in a great mood when I travel and that mood is reflected in my writing.

I also discovered these great little notebooks with the smoothest paper ever. They are called Campus and they are made in Japan. I was needing a notebook one night and walked down to the hotel convenience store and discovered these beautiful little notebooks. Needless to I picked up these notebooks everywhere we went for the rest of the trip.

Writing is a very mobile distraction. You can take it everywhere with you and everywhere you go, it can be there with you to remember, to capture, let go, to create and to give away to others.

This summer I will be be doing more traveling. I will take my Japanese notebooks, my iPad and keyboard and a good pen and head out the door to happiness and my writing.

“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget. Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.” – Jack Kerouac and his writing On The Road

Here’s to a good summer of writing.


You can reach me at jessbrown44@gmail.com to share your writing adventures or share any good books on the craft of writing that you have read.


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