The other day I posted this photo to my Facebook page with the following caption:
I was getting a little writing done at the beach that day.
And it’s true that I often “work” at the beach.
That’s just one of the things I love about being a writer.
I can work when and where I like.
After I posted this photo, a few of my Facebook friends who are also writers asked me just what kind of writing I do at the beach since I don’t take my laptop (too sandy on the beach) out there.
They wondered how I get any real work done without a computer.
So I thought I’d make a little list of the things I accomplish for my writing, and my writing business, while I’m sitting on the beach enjoying the sun and a great view of the gorgeous water.
If you’re a writer, you can try these things at the beach, too.
Don’t live near the beach?
Then try them at a nearby park or even your own backyard – any place where you might like to get a little work done while you relax outside.
Things to Try at the Beach, the Park, or Your Own Backyard…
1. Work on a current writing project.
As I mentioned, above, I don’t take my laptop out to the beach because I don’t want to get sand in it.
Instead, I take a spiral notebook or a legal pad and a pen.
I find that writing at the beach this way has several advantages over writing directly on my computer.
First, it mentally frees me to write more creatively.
I don’t know about you, but even though I can make changes as I go when I’m writing on the computer, I have this mental block about writing something that is less than perfect (or that might even be quite awful) when it will be part of the file for the manuscript I am currently working on.
But when I make notes or write a new chapter in the spiral notebook or on a legal pad, I can make all sorts of changes BEFORE I add it to the manuscript on my computer.
This frees my creativity somehow and enables me to write easier.
So another advantage of writing on a legal pad or spiral notebook is that I writer faster.
The words tend to flow when I’m writing at the beach this way.
That means I get a lot more writing done in a shorter amount of time.
2. Plan New Projects.
I often make notes for new projects, or even a work-in-progress, when I’m sitting on the beach.
I might outline a blog post or a nonfiction book I’m planning on writing.
Again, I use a spiral notebook for this or a legal pad, or sometimes I’ll use index cards.
Or, I might interview some of my characters.
It’s nice to sit and look out over the water as I create questions for a character interview, for example, so I can gain more insight into how and why that character will act and react in my story.
Or, sometimes I just let my mind wander.
I’m always surprised at all the new ideas I come up with this way.
3. Journal for a Little Writing Practice.
As writers, we all have different weaknesses.
One of my weaknesses is descriptive writing.
I sometimes have trouble describing the setting or those little details that can really bring a scene to life.
I’m much better at writing action and dialogue.
I think this comes from writing for children for so many years.
Children want lots of action, not description.
Anyway…back to my weakness…
So, sometimes at the beach I’ll work on a writing prompt that requires some descriptive writing.
Or I’ll simply look around and try to describe what I see in vivid detail.
There’s always some little aspect of writing that you can practice and it’s fun to do this when you’re relaxed and outside some place.
There’s something about being in nature that is both relaxing and creatively stimulating.
4. Take Photos for My Blog and My Facebook Account.
Since this blog is about writing and living by the sea, I love to include photos of the beach with most of my posts.
And I often post what I call “The Beach Report” to my Facebook page, which includes some photos I’ve recently taken of the beach where I live.
It seems there is always something interesting and new to see at the beach (like the time we saw a pig at the beach) and it’s fun to take photos of these things.
I’m sure that’s true of the park or your backyard, too.
Just look around and take some photos that you might use later in a blog post or an article for a magazine or other publication.
5. Noodle for New Topics to Write About.
The beach is so relaxing that I find I often come up with LOTS of new ideas to write about.
But if I don’t make notes about these ideas I soon forget them, so I will often sit with my notebook and simply write down ideas as they come to me.
This is so helpful for later, when I’m back in my office, working at my computer.
I can look through this notebook and get some ideas for a new blog post or a new coaching program, for example.
6. Read Books I’ve Been Asked to Review.
I do video reviews of children’s books at The National Writing for Children Center, so publishers, authors, and publicists constantly send me new books to review.
I need to read these books, of course, and an afternoon on the beach is the perfect time to read these books, then I can create the video reviews when I’m back in my office.
7. Read for Inspiration and to Study Other Writers’ Techniques.
Writers need to constantly read the types of books (and other materials, like short stories, etc.) they wish to write.
When I’m sitting on the beach, I sometimes read books like the ones I wish to write and study the writing for the various techniques these other authors use.
I might even decide to use one of these other books as a “mentor text” for a book I will write.
8. Look Through a Current Market Guide.
Freelance writers and authors need to be aware of what various markets are currently looking for.
This takes time and study, so I sometimes bring a current writer’s market guide out to the beach with me so I can look through it, making a few notes so I’ll know which markets I want to learn more about so I can submit to them.
9. Read a Magazine I Wish to Write For.
This relates to studying the current market guides.
Besides studying writer’s guidelines for the publications I might like to write for, it’s also important to read current issues of each of these publications, so, from time to time, I’ll take one of these magazines out to the beach to read and study.
10. Talk Through Plotting Problems with My Husband.
If you have a spouse or friend who also likes to write (or just likes to go the beach or the park with you), this is a nice time to talk through any plotting problems you might be having with your current novel or other work of fiction.
My husband doesn’t write fiction, but he’s really good at listening to storylines I’m developing and then offering suggestions as to what might happen to increase the dramatic tension in these stories, or how I could include a new subplot in a story, etc.
Okay…so those are some of the things I do for my writing career and writing business when I’m “working” at the beach.
Do you have a favorite place outside that you like to work?
What do you work on while you’re there?
I’d love your ideas, too, so please leave them as a comment.
P.S. If you aren’t yet a subscriber, get The Morning Nudge now and every weekday you’ll receive an email from me with additional tips for your writing and your writing career. You’ll also receive 30 Tips for Becoming a Wealthy Writer.