Only the lucky few can fully process the world within their minds; others need the exercise of pushing thoughts onto paper (or the screen). Writing in the moment that you are documenting can produce very different results than writing from memory.
“In the moment” writing can better enable writing about your surroundings, the beautiful and site-specific details, what you are sensing, and the questions or realizations that ebb and flow throughout the experience. In the moment writing savors the very present you live in.
If simply saying “write right now” doesn’t spark your creative juices, follow this checklist while sitting, standing, or lying within the moment you are hoping to describe:
- Start by being mindful. Gaze around you, but don’t interact with anyone. Just be still and aware of what is around you without judgment.
- After five minutes of mindfulness (or however much time you need), grab a paper and pen and write some of your honest observations, not the things you think you’re supposed to see and feel.
- If sentences don’t come out, write prose poetry. If that sounds daunting, just write fragments. If fragments are still too much, just write words. Don’t judge yourself as you go; just steadily write what comes to mind.
- Focus on the thing the moment affords: access to detail. Explore each of your senses and describe what they are sensing with as much detail as possible. All of this is raw material to later edit into a travel piece.