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Vacation is a time relax and leave your work behind, right? Not so fast. If you’re a writer, you’ll always take a piece of your work with you wherever you go. That piece is your brain and it never stops thinking about the next writing project or interesting tidbit to add to a current one. While you shouldn't work on vacation, you also shouldn't ignore what pops into your mind when you're away, since it could pay off big when you get back home. So go ahead, have fun and enjoy your trip, but take along these important writing tools that may come in handy and make your getaway productive too.

A Pen and Notebook

Whether you’re lounging by the pool or travelling the countryside in a bus, a pen and notebook are a must on vacation. You can use them to journal about the scenery, the food you ate last night, your mood, the weather, or anything you care to reflect on. You might brainstorm for topics for your next article or book. Notebooks and pens are also fun for doodling and sketching, both which can usher in all kinds of ideas pertinent to your writing.

A Pocket-sized Notepad

If a journal is too cumbersome, slip a small notepad into your backpack or back pocket. You never know when a thought will strike that you can apply to your writing. A site you're visiting or an activity you're doing might trigger something as simple as how to finish that sentence you've been struggling with for weeks. Never be without a notepad, especially on vacation. A relaxed state of mind can be exactly when your brain does its best work.

Your Phone or Tablet

Did someone on vacation use an interesting expression you’ve never heard before? Would your travel destination make a good setting for a historical novel? Your phone or tablet are not only portable, they’ll give you the means to look up words, do quick research, and even take notes for later use in your writing. Be sure to download any apps that might be of use to your writing life while on vacation, like a note-taking, translation, or dictionary app.

Books to Read

No vacation is complete without a book to read. Reading doesn’t just help pass time while in a car or plane; it’s an excellent writing tool for improving your writing skills. Books are easy to transport, slipped into a carry-on or handbag. Or, bring an e-reader on vacation and take as many books as you’d like. For a list of must reads for writers this summer, check out these ideas.

Your Curiosity

Don’t let your mind go dull on vacation. In fact, travelling is the perfect scenario for igniting your curiosity. Take full advantage of your trip and ask unlimited questions. Curiosity spurs deep thinking and creativity, both which benefit your writing life. Let your curiosity kick into full gear while you're away. It will make the return home that much more productive.

Embrace your summer vacation and enjoy it to the full. Just don’t forget to pack the above writing tools to complete the trip and make it profitable too.

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Summer’s nearing an end and it’s time to start thinking about hitting the keyboard full force. But while you’re busy collecting ideas for your fall writing schedule, here’s one more idea to consider: planning a fall vacation. Wait a sec, didn’t I just take a vacation, you ask? Whether you did or not, fall’s one of the best times to travel, especially if you want to make autumn a lucrative, productive writing season. Here’s why:

You Need a Fall Vacation to Recharge

Let’s face it, summer vacations aren’t exactly restful and rejuvenating. Bustling beach adventures, hectic air travel, and multi-stop road trips to visit the relatives can be exciting—and exhausting. Fall vacations, on the other hand, tend to be less chaotic and tiring, giving your brain and body time to refresh and recharge so you can write full force when you return to your desk.

Fall Vacations Offer a Multitude of Writing Ideas

Beautiful colors, perfect weather, and popular destinations for less money describe a fall vacation. What more could you want? Actually, there’s plenty more. Vacationing during the autumn months is also an ideal way to jumpstart a new season of writing. All the advantages of fall travel translate to a long list of writing ideas—from interesting vacation spots to unique fall foods, activities, holidays, and foliage.

Motivation Comes from Something to Anticipate

You don’t have to take a fall vacation at the beginning of autumn, but you can start planning and getting excited about it, which will help motivate you to work hard now so you can relax and enjoy the trip in a month or two. Knowing you have something to look forward to in the short-term can be just what you need to be productive after a long, unstructured summer.

You Can Make It a Writing Vacation

A vacation doesn’t mean you have to stop writing. If you love your craft (and most writers do!) and it relaxes you, why not take it along? Choose a private, quiet spot to travel, and bring your writing materials and creativity with. Or, sign up for an autumn writing conference or retreat, where you get the opportunity to mingle with other writers, enjoy the beauty of the surroundings, and spend time honing and broadening your skills.

Fall is a great time to write. It’s also a great time to get away. Do yourself a favor and plan a fall vacation. It’ll do wonders for your mind, body, and writing life.

Image by David Whelan