2018 Wrap-Up: How Did Being A Digital Nomad Affect My Writing Career?


When Brent (my husband and fellow author) and I left Seattle in December of 2017, we had a lot of questions about our upcoming lives as digital nomads. Would we get homesick? (No, though we missed our friends.) As two introverts, could we handle living and working alongside dozens of other people? (Turns out I’m not nearly the introvert I thought I was!)

Most importantly, how would traveling the world affect our writing careers? We still had to make a living, after all.

After one year, here’s the big take-away: I got a lot more done than I ever expected. Not only did I do extensive work on my historical novel, A Broken Land, I also wrote a pretty solid draft of an entirely new novel, not to mention a fair bit of content for our website brentandmichaelaregoingplaces, as well as hundreds of posts for Facebook and Instagram.

Brent was just as productive, revising two novels and grinding out three screenplays, in addition to completely redoing all our websites.

Why was I so productive? Here are some theories:

(1) I wanted to get out and do stuff!

Who wants to be stuck working, when you can be out hiking with cool people!

Who wants to be stuck working, when you can be out hiking with cool people!

I’ve never suffered from writer’s block or a lack of ideas to write about. But procrastination? Yeah, I’ve been guilty of surfing the blogs and reading the news as a way to avoid a chapter that’s making me bonkers.

But as a digital nomad, I wanted to get my work done as fast as possible so I could take advantage of all the cool things around me: amazing castles, incredible ruins, gorgeous hikes, and on and on. And there were all of the fantastic people I wanted to hang out with.

Plus, there all of that gelato needing to be eaten.

Honestly, as much as I loved living in Seattle for several decades, the sad truth is, I’d become pretty bored with the city.

(2) I spent way less time obsessing about politics.

Unfortunately, Brent and I are both political junkies, and it’s been pretty hard to turn away from the train wreck that is American politics these days.

Turns out that’s a whole lot easier when you aren’t living in the US and drowning in that hot mess. Being outside the country gave me some breathing room and reminded me the world is a huge, interesting place. And our European friends often reminded us the scope of history is long, and if Italy can survive Berlusconi, Mussolini, and Caligula, maybe America will survive Trump.

(3) There’s something about working alongside other people that makes you more accountable.

This is Brent’s theory and I agree: working in co-working spaces makes you more aware when you’re procrastinating. Which is funny, because no one cares whether you’re working or surfing the blogs (although you definitely can’t look at porn!).

I think he’s right. When other people are working hard (or at least look like they’re working hard), it’s infectious, and you quickly find yourself working away too.

Anyway, our year of writing abroad has turned out to be everything we hoped for. Which is why were off to Thailand just as soon as possible where I promise to be a writing machine.

Well, when I’m not hanging out on the beach!