When you travel, you don’t have to take a vacation from blogging. This post will help you harness the creative power of travel to keep your blogging schedule on track.
I recently wrote a post for SteamFeed about two business blogging power tools. One was the idea catcher, a place to capture the juicy gems that might become your next blog post.
Many people find that traveling naturally unleashes fresh ideas for blogging. Some may fit into your existing editorial calendar (the other power tool I recommended in the SteamFeed post), but if you’re anything like me, traveling tends to inspire a complete overhaul. All of a sudden I have new categories, new plans for the upcoming quarter or year, and a new understanding of my ideal reader.
There’s just something about traveling that gets those creative wheels rolling. If there’s anyone who understands this, it’s Cynthia Morris. Cynthia is an author, coach and artist who is dedicated to the fullest creative expression for both herself and others. We met as co-leaders of a special interest group for creativity coaches, many moons ago.
I asked Cynthia about her experiences with travel, idea generation, and the creative process.
Why do you think we get so many new ideas when we travel?
Cynthia: When we are in our familiar home environment, we grow accustomed to the things and routines around us. We begin to visually and sensually edit out all that known information about the way things look, smell, taste and feel.
On a trip, we experience thousands of impressions every day. Every turn offers something new and surprising.
The element of surprise is vital to creativity. We love new associations and random, unexpected encounters. Think of humor – it relies on the unexpected to move us and make us laugh.
When we step out of our normal routine and away from our usual tasks and obligations, we open up space for new ideas. Match that with all the new impressions and travel is a perfect blend for the creative.
How should we organize or filter our ideas when traveling – or should we?
Cynthia: Every trip has its own agenda. Some trips aren’t meant for thinking or idea-generation. (Though it’s hard to avoid!) Most satisfied creative people have a system for capturing their ideas, whether it’s in analogue or digital form.
I personally use an illustrated journal to capture moments of my trip in a visual form. I reserve a page in the back of my notebook called Flashes of Inspiration. Whenever I have one of those ‘when I get home, I should…’ moments, I put it on that page. It’s fun to go back to it post-trip to see if I actually followed through on the inspiration. Usually, I do, which makes a good case for capturing action items in one place!
How do you combine art and writing to capture and develop your ideas?
Cynthia: Great question! I used to fill notebooks with long written passages. But when I traveled that became cumbersome and not fun. So I began adding illustrations and color to my pages, also gluing in scraps of paper that I found along the way.
For my creativity workshops, I use several ways to quickly and easily capture things in writing. One example is the haiku. This short form of poetry can serve as a sort of verbal snapshot, taking you back to a specific moment in your travels. Much more fun and easy to access than a long narrative.
So, using brief written capture methods and drawings together on a page is my favorite way to use images and words to tell little stories of my trip.
You mentioned that on your upcoming sabbatical you plan to spend some time “screen-side” everyday, but most of your time creating. How do you maintain that balance when there are always so many interesting things to look at online?
Cynthia: I love the world online and there’s plenty of inspiration to be had there. But at the end of the day, most of it is second-hand, curated, navigated inspiration.
Nothing beats the surprise and wonder of life in the real world. The encounters that I have when wandering around with little agenda are often way more powerful than anything I have planned.
In general I prefer my online time to be focused on making and connecting. I’m less inclined to wander and look for inspiration there. Seeing more things online usually leads to more overwhelm in a way that real world stimulus doesn’t.
So when traveling it’s much easier for me to want to be out in the city exploring than inside facing a screen.
When you come back from your trip, be sure to transfer your ideas to your editorial calendar and/or talk them over with your blogging team. Don’t waste all that real world inspiration! For more wisdom from Cynthia, see How to Make Any Space a Blogging Retreat Destination or visit her at Original Impulse and learn how she can help you .