I am traveling to Las Vegas this weekend for a week-long broadcaster’s conference. Seeing this is my first time to Las Vegas, I will definitely be writing a blog post about it at some point. However, this is not my first time on a plane. Far from it.
I’ve been traveling ever since I was a year old. Every summer, I would travel by plane to visit my family in Colombia. I love to travel, and though I hate how sensitive my ears can get to the air pressure, I love long flights, becuase I get a chance to write non-stop.
With years of experience, here are my tips for you on how to prepare for a long-flight writing session:
Make Your Writing Tools Accessible and Ready
Whether you write in a notebook or on a laptop, you should have them ready to go before you even get to the airport. Make sure your laptop is all charged up, or make sure you bring at least two pens full of ink.
If your laptop doesn’t have a long battery life, bring a notebook just in case. You can also write by hand some snippets of scenes or fill out some character charts.
You’ll also want to make sure that any work you need while writing is available without wi-fi or data in case you don’t have anything like that available while on the plane. Scrivener is a great platform to have, since all your work is on there. If you don’t use Scrivener, just make sure you have access to any notes you may need in an offline format.
If you listen to music while you write, particularly if you have a specific playlist, make sure that it’s all available offline as well. You won’t be able to take advantage of this writing session if you can’t write without your music.
Have all your writing tools ready to go in a bag that you can put under the seat in front of you. You also don’t want to be an inconvenience hunting down your supplies in a bag that goes in the overhead bin.
If you have everything ready to go beforehand, it’ll be smooth sailing.
Set Goals for Yourself
It’s great to think that you’ll have all this time to write, because you’ll be sitting in this seat most of the time anyway. However, if you don’t have specific goals for yourself, you may find yourself staring at a blank page and then deciding not to write at all.
Setting writing goals for yourself is a great way to ensure you take advantage of this long flight. Otherwise, you may get overwhelmed by all the time you have available and end up writing nothing.
Do you want to set a word count goal? Say, 8,000 words? How about filling out all your character sheets by the time you land? Maybe you want to finish that outline you’ve been working on for a while? Or maybe you want to write the first five chapters?
By setting a goal, you’ll have a clear idea of what you’ll be doing on that flight, and you’ll have a better chance of getting it done.
Pace Yourself, Take Breaks
Unless you’re used to writing non-stop for hours, it can be a daunting or mentally exhausting experience. So, be sure to pace yourself.
Try out writing sprints, where you write for 20 minutes then take a 5-minute break and then take another 20-minute writing sprint.
When food comes around, if your flight includes it, be sure to put the work away and enjoy the meal. Or when you’re getting sleepy, allow yourself to take that nap.
Find yourself day-dreaming a bit? That’s probably a sign that you need to take a break, clear your mind, and then you can get back to writing.
Understand that the goal is not to write every second of the flight. Rather, you want to maximize your time on the flight by setting realistic goals and by taking breaks to make sure you reach that finish line.
Bring a Book
There will probably come a moment when you’re just really tired of writing, and that’s totally okay! However, a writer doesn’t have to write to get better at their craft.
Bring a book onto the plane with you. There’s no better way for a writer to learn about writing than by reading books, except for writing, obviously.
This is probably one of the sure moments in your life where you have time to read if you have a busy lifestyle. So, take advantage of the moment, and read!
One time, I read an entire book from cover to cover in one flight. My mom woke up to find me crying, and I had to explain that it was because of the book I was reading. Not only did I get to enjoy a great book, but I got to learn how to convey emotion as a writer with someone else’s writing as an example.
I was reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, by the way.
Planes can be pretty uncomfortable seating-wise. It’s difficult to write when you’re uncomfortable.
Bring a pillow and/or a blanket. Bring some fuzzy socks or your favorite writing fingerless gloves. Wear your comfiest shoes.
Do whatever you can to make your seating arrangement as comfortable as possible. It won’t at all be like your writing station or your favorite cafe, but it’ll at least help in getting you cozy for a long writing session.
I truly hope you found these tips helpful. I definitely plan on writing some Fantasy Realm tales while on the flight to Vegas. Then, when my laptop runs out of a battery, I’ve got a great book to read.
Maybe next time you book a flight, you’ll already have a goal in mind for your long-flight writing session.