Sometimes written words don’t add anything.
Nowadays we seem to be constantly on the move and as spring approaches, even more so. As you never know when you’ll come across something that sparks the writer within, what should you make sure you always have with you?
1. I personally don’t carry a lap top. I’m too inclined to lose it or drop it so I use an AlphaSmart, the virtues of which I described in my very early blog Writer on the move. You can find out more about it including prices here. I got mine a lot cheaper on Ebay as people frequently upgrade and move on
Using it stops me spending too much time surfing when I should be writing. There are few places in the world where you can’t find internet access when you need it.
Of course this only applies if you are on the go for a short time and don’t have a deadline while you’re away . If you do then you’d better take a laptop.
However you might want to read these tips about keeping your laptop safe, before you set off
2. Pen and notebook – can’t beat ‘em for moments when the muse strikes and you just can’t get anything else to hand.
3. MP3 or some other pocket recording device for ideas on the go that you don’t have time to write down or if you find yourself in the company of someone interesting and you want to record him.
I often join an unofficial tour on my travels around the country and it’s great to be able to record the ‘guide’ or whoever is sharing information and not have to worry about writing everything down.
You might think of a great story line and want to capture it before it gets away or even a spark or thought for an article. Just turn it on and record your thoughts quickly.
Even if you don’t usually supply photos, they are always great for reminding you about a place/ event / person and can capture things you don’t even notice at the time e.g. the weather, the kind of people who were there, the clothes people wore etc.
5. Mobile phone (and charger). If you get a great idea for a story and want to check in with an editor you have worked with before call and run it past them and get an angle.
A new editor wouldn't want a pitch by phone so gather the information, take the photos as though you were writing the story and when you get to a computer pitch the story.
6.Comfortable walking shoes and clothes. Sun glasses and sun screen and a hat if you’re in a hot climate – you don’t need sunstroke.
7. Books to read – if you;re travelling you will hopefully have time to catch up on some of those books you’ve been promising yourself you’ll read one day. Don’t miss the opportunity.
8..power cords / batteries/ chargers / USB chargers that can be used in an electric outlet – anything that keeps all your equipment working.
Have an enjoyable and fruitful trip.
I’m often asked whether its not difficult finding writing markets living in a non-English speaking country.
The truth is that today a writer can live anywhere in the world and write for publications anywhere in and even ‘off’ the world i.e. online. No one even needs to know where you live – unless it’s to send the cheque ( that spelling gives away that I’m an ex Brit)
If you want to write about developments in hi-tech / bringing up children / advances in medicine / latest building techniques / house decorations / spring cleaning / car design / sports or in fact anything and everything - you can do it from New York / Paris / Tokyo / Jerusalem or the top of Mt Everest ( if your laptop functions there).
BUT – the fact that you can research and write from your bedroom doesn’t mean that you can expect to get your articles published if you turn out inferior internet-research laden pieces.
Any worthwhile publication will require expert input and up to date information that can be checked by their fact-checkers. And each publication will want interviews with sources and experts in their particular country or even town or state.
But that isn’t difficult to achieve – it just requires putting in some effort. if you contact an organization like HARO ( help a reporter out) or one of the many other sites ( google something like ‘find an expert in home decorating’) they can match you up with an expert in your field in the country you need.
You can then make contact and interview them by email / telephone / Skype or whatever your preferred method.
You may well find that some of the cutting-edge research in many fields is taking place here in Israel. I remember once researching a medical topic and all the top experts came from the Weizmann Institute in Rechovot. A quick check with the editor assured me that they were happy to have an interview with an expert from here as well as others more local to the publication.
As I mentioned above with the word cheque/ check, you will also have to match your spelling to the publication. English is not spelled the same in Britain and the USA. Again this is not an insurmountable problem. Here’s one site of many that can help you.
Of course this is assuming that you want to write on subjects which are international. There are of course subjects which are much easier to write from Israel than anywhere else.
But that’s for another blog post.