I found that cruising down the Rhine River watching majestic scenery float by is the perfect way to write new stories. Too often at home, I am caught up in my day to day activities, finding that my hours slip away, leaving little time for creating.
I recently returned from a boat trip to Germany visiting the Christmas Markets and picturesque cities and towns along the way. For those who do not know, the European Christmas Markets have a long history. Traditionally during the pre-Christmas season in town and city centers, colorfully decorated booths are set up to sell handicrafts, decorations and food. Locals and tourists flock to these markets as much as to buy what is for sale, see the colorful Christmas decorations and enjoy the festive atmosphere, as to eat, drink and socialize.
On this trip besides sightseeing, I took the opportunity to draft two new children’s stories. Both stories had been rattling around in my mind for several months, but I never had time to sit down and actually write them. Fortunately, I had my iPad with me on the trip. Watching the countryside as we serenely cruised by was the perfect atmosphere to create. The two stories are still in the “toddler” stage with more revisions to go and illustrations to draw. But I found it was a relief to finally put fingers to keypad and watch these stories emerge.
I usually take two foreign trips a year to see the world, meet new people, and have new experiences, all of which become inspirations for new children’s stories. This time I found that the river cruise also gave me the quiet time I needed to write.
Oh yes, I also did do some marketing and networking. I gave business cards and brochures to those fellow passengers who expressed interest in my books. I gave two of my books to crew members and a copy of Butterfly Girls to a four-year-old, German girl when we visited her family. I met two emerging children’s storywriters aboard ship, and we compared notes. Finally, I spent some time taking with an elementary school principal discussing the new Common Core Curriculum and it’s implications for writers of children’s books.
I would say my time aboard ship was time well spent as well as being enjoyable.