Sunset over Spitbank Fort Hotel in the Solent at Portsmouth

Sunset over Spitbank Fort Hotel in the Solent at Portsmouth

This guest post has been kindly supplied by Cruise Club UK

The digital world has become more pervasive and invasive than ever, with the average person now spending one hour and forty minutes a day on social media apps. With people paying to go on digital detoxes to get away from their technology, our phones and laptops have become more than just a tool we use in our everyday lives, To many, they’ve become an addiction which is literally at our fingertips 24/7.

Now think of all the things you could do with that extra hour and forty minutes every day. It’s more than the hour a day of exercise recommended to help improve your life expectancy, while Earl Nightingale said that one hour a day of study can send you to the top of your field within three years. If you read for an hour a day, that’s a book a week, which is around fifty books a year.

What about that book you’ve been writing? An hour and forty minutes a day may not seem much, but you can easily aim to put down around 1000 words in that time, which is 7000 a week, 30,000 a month, and you can have the first draft of your novel finished within half a year.

But how do you create the habits that will help you stay motivated when the primal urges of procrastination call? Take a look at our top three ways to escape the world, coming back with your creative juices flowing and your motivation motor revving.

  1. Escape to the Hills

We’ve all read those articles by writers where they casually mention “and then I just went away to my remote cabin in the mountains and wrote my 150,000 word manuscript in a weekend, with nothing but the squirrels and the goats to keep me company and no distractions.” Well, it might take more than a weekend, but shutting yourself away from society and taking away all of your excuses and get-out clauses not to write is a tried-and-tested method. It really does work.

If you fancy giving up the trappings of your modern life in exchange for the ascetic and the austere, then make sure you’re realistic about yourself and what you really need. Try to avoid the internet completely, so if you’re writing something that needs research, make sure you have materials downloaded prior to going off-grid. While we’re not trying to recreate the atmosphere of a silent meditation and totally spill your internal turmoil, we are trying to rid ourselves of all distractions. You will, however, need plug sockets for your laptop, and probably a kettle, unless you’re one of the few capable of writing without copious cups of tea and coffee.

  1. Cruise to Creativity

Although you can get cruise trips specially tailored for writers, you definitely don’t need one to stir the winds of inspiration into your sails. A cruise is the perfect combination of intense sensory stimulation, followed closely by long stretches of nothing much, in which to jot everything down while it’s still fresh. On a luxury cruise, you can cruise from the UK to almost anywhere you can imagine. NCL Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, amongst others, are larger ships, allowing you to hide in the anonymity. On a long distance cruise, the days at sea will give you ample time to fall into a routine of writing, then taking advantage of the facilities a cruise has to offer such as seminars, climbing walls, tennis courts and anything else that will help you unwind.  

If you want to immerse yourself in culture, pick a luxury cruise from the UK which allows you overnight stays on land, like Azamara Cruises. Perfect if you want to avoid the larger ships and get a real feel of the sights, sounds and tastes of a location, Azamara Cruises are smaller, luxury ships that can sail where their big brothers can’t go. You can arrive back to the UK having taken in numerous countries and cultures; your own ‘eat, pray, love’ experience packed into only a few weeks.

The benefit of a luxury cruise over a remote cabin is that you’ll also arrive back pampered and preened and possibly with some new friendships. Just be careful to keep your writing discipline from day one, or that ‘work hard, play hard’ balance could easily slip away from you. Invest in a single berth cabin (NCL Cruises are a good option to avoid the single supplement), and it’s worth splashing a little more cash to make sure you enjoy spending time there.

  1. Turn off on a Tropical Island

You don’t just have to head into the hills before your internet connection cuts out and you’re forced to focus. If you want all the benefits of a life without WiFi, but don’t want to completely isolate yourself, look no further than tropical islands such as the ones off South East Asia, or more remote parts of the African islands like Zanzibar.

Twilight sunsets and beautiful beaches, Okinawa, JapanSteer clear of the hotels, as they come connected, and opt for cabins near the beach. Not only will this save you money, but it will channel the best elements of the ascetic qualities you’re aiming for with a cabin on a hillside, while still giving you some of that holiday feeling. Especially if you’re someone who feels at one with the ocean, you’ll find peace and clarity come into your mind with the lapping of the waves. While digital nomads all around lament the lack of WiFi, you can gloat over your rapidly expanding word count and celebrate in the evening with mojitos all round.

Whichever you choose, remember to pick the method which is realistic for you — or even try all three and see which works best for future record. If you start going loopy without a little social contact, opt for the cruise or an island getaway over the cabin in the hills, If you know you need constant stimulation to maintain inspiration, the cruise is for you. Now, go and switch off from the world so you can enjoy, relax and create.

Paul Edge, director of Cruise Club UK, has spent over 25 years working to improve the travel industry. When not in the office, he’s in an exotic location user-testing one of his luxury cruises.

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