Writer’s Vacation – Be Your Own Location Scout (and Make Your Own Writing Prompts)

Many years ago, when I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, one of the assignments was to go on an “Artist’s Date.” This was a type of assigned play where you take your artist self out and see new things, or go to an art store and buy art supplies.

I loved this practice. This year, the push to finish a trilogy, a certificate program at SFU, and starting a new job has drained my personal creative coffers. I’d meditated, focused on writing something new, then took time off, then turned up at the page. And all of these things helped, but what I was missing in all of this was play.

It was time again for an artist’s date. And I was overdue for a vacation.

As a writer, I’ve always dreamed of going away somewhere just to write. I have heard of writers going away to retreats, or applying for grants, but haven’t gotten around to that myself. For example, I’d love to go to a castle in Ireland just to write for six weeks. But

I also know myself as a traveler. If I go somewhere new and exciting, I want to get out and see the place, not lock myself in a room and write. I’m an introvert who is also insatiably curious.

This year, I spent too much time indoors, so I wanted to get out and explore. Our budget was tight, and the Canadian dollar is low ($0.65 USD), so all we had in our coffers was a trip to nearby Victoria B.C. and Saltspring Island.

That’s when I came up with the idea of a writer’s vacation where I fill my coffers with inspiration from my new environment and play “locations scout.”

I did this before, made a trip to Seattle to scout locations for The Watcher Saga.  And that was a definite, planned trip, because I set the books there.

This time, I had no idea what story to write or where it will be set. Instead, I simply took pictures of locations that excited me.

I drove aimlessly, or found my favorite local haunts (I know Victoria fairly well, and have Google maps so I wouldn’t get lost). I took pictures of my favorite places and used them as potential location prompts.

First, I found this gem: St. Ann’s Academy – oh so much you can do with this…

Fantan alley, with its shops and lanterns.

Then…. off to Saltspring Island where we saw this gorgeous view:


And the haunted wardrobe that opened in the middle of the night with no provocation from us:


Any of these locations could be a prompt or tell a story in itself. What if they were all in the same place?

Writing Prompt: Using these pictures, write a story using these locations.

Let me know what you come up with!



3 thoughts on “Writer’s Vacation – Be Your Own Location Scout (and Make Your Own Writing Prompts)

  1. Caroldey says:

    I have a little place in Nevis West Indies
    The area is very quite and a beautiful view of mt Nevis
    We find it an excellent spot to just sit and be still
    I think vactioning here for a few weeks to write will be awesome

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