It is summer time and that means vacations. Regardless of whether the vacation is relaxing and reflective or fast paced and adventuresome, vacations are a great way for writers to keep it real. These travels (even if they are only just across town) can expose writers to new experiences, provide writers with firsthand knowledge of new places, and enhance writers' powers of observations. Thus, trips are a great way for writers to develop settings that are rich and insightful.
Vacations, though not as extensive of research as living in certain places, can be invaluable to writers as they struggle to create settings that are alive. Trips often have the magical ability to awaken writers' senses. With all the new sights, sounds, and smells, writers are bound to break out of their routine and find new ways of expressing themselves.
I personally use vacations as inspiration for many of my settings. Relaying on my firsthand knowledge of a place, aids my writing and helps me keep track of everything. My son and I use National Parks as the setting for my middle grade adventure series and we try to go to as many as we can. We love our research!!! It feels like cheating sometimes, but hey. . . whatever it take to keep it real, right?!
So, yes traveling really does help writers keep their writing real. I know that I am not alone in this believe. Take a look at Jack London's writings. He is a descriptive writer who has drawn from his own experiences in the harsh Alaskan frontier to paint realistic and yet almost hostile settings that seem to work against his protagonist. His stories are so memorable because of his authentic knowledge of the environment. His settings are so alive that they are almost a character into themselves. Jack London is such a powerful writer because he kept it real and drew from his real life experiences.
So dear writers, this summer remember to keep it real. Seek out those adventures, experience new things, observe people, and then write. Just remember to use your imagination, but do keep it a little real - just a little! Happy trails!!