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How to Become a Writer From Your RV

| Updated Jun 20, 2023

Technology has made life easier in so many ways, including the ability to write from just about anywhere — such as your RV.

But it isn’t just the ability to actually write. Technological advancements have made it easy to publish your work, as well, meaning others could possibly read your work and actually pay you for it.

Don’t just take my word for it. Take it from Kevin Tumlinson, author or co-author of nearly 40 books and host of the Wordslinger podcast.

Not too long ago he told me (see video below) why he thinks it’s so easy to be a writer of the road. In short, there’s a lot of inspiration out there from which to draw.

“What are you go going to do with all that inspiration? It’s almost like you’re being commanded to produce something while you’re out on the road,” Tumlinson said. “I mean, you feel it.”

He’s right.

In fact, as I told him, I can’t imagine traveling and not being able to easily write.

“I think some people don’t necessarily connect writing with that activity. Because we have a tendency to think writing is hard, you know?” Tumlinson said. “We’ve been taught since grade school that writing was hard. Turns out writing is hard, but you can make it fun, and make it interesting, and in some cases make it lucrative. I happen to enjoy the process of writing, that maybe we’re unique in enjoying that process. But I know people who actually hated writing before they did it, and now are successful authors.”

Tumlinson said he started writing for newspapers when he was 12 years old. He parlayed that interest in the written word into work as a copywriter for marketing and advertising, but yearned to pen fiction stories. Eventually, he figured out a way to do just that.

He gave me an example of just one time he and his wife were on an RV road trip and inspiration struck.

“We were in San Antonio on a trip in the RV…and I came up with this idea while we were on the River Walk, just told her a story about … an idea that I thought, ‘I’ll put this in a book someday,’ and she says, ‘This is exactly why we travel because every time we go somewhere, you come up with a new idea, and it ends up in a book, and then that finances travel.’”

I told him that I imagine there are a lot of RVers out there who likely feel the same inspiration to varying degrees, and he agreed.

He urged people who want to write to take advantage of the many tools out there that can allow that creativity to flow — starting with how the writing actually takes place.

“There is a ton of stuff there that will allow you to write from anywhere,” he said. “I sometimes use my iPhone, and a small Bluetooth keyboard. Or I’ll write on the onscreen keyboard sometimes if I get an inspiration. I write primarily with my iPad, which is always connected to the internet. The technology has made it so that you can write from anywhere, anytime.”

Tumlinson told me he once used his iPhone to write a short story while he was in line for three hours at Disney World.

But just having the tools isn’t going to automatically equate to success. You also have to have a certain amount of discipline.

“The absolute must is sit down and write,” he said. “Here’s my advice: I have a book called ‘30 Day Author’ by the way that goes through this process. You are not required to buy this to get this. Here is the free version: Sit down and decide what you want your word count to be, let’s say 60,000 words. NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, they have a contest, and they say if you can hit 50,000 words you’ve written a book. Let’s just use that. And you just say I do 50,000 words, and I want to get it done in 30 days, or I want to get it done in 60 days, you just divide that to get how many words per day you need to produce, right?

“If you can just sit down, and consistently write those words every day you’ll have that book,” he said.

There are other tips that can help you get the job done. For example, turn off your so-called inner editor.

“Don’t edit as you write, that will just cause you to never finish that book,” he said. “Just write it, and then edit it later.”

When you feel you’re done, find an editor to submit your finished manuscript.  

Once your manuscript is ready, Tumlinson suggests using a service called Among other things, Draft2Digital will get your work listed for sale on places like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

It doesn’t cost a thing. You upload your manuscript, you upload your cover, you write a little description about the book, you choose what genre it is, what categories it fits into, and you choose the storefronts you want to distribute to, and you hit publish.

“And I have literally taken people through that process — from uploading the manuscript to making it available for sale — in less than 10 minutes,” he said. “You can actually be out there.”

From there, it’s just a matter of marketing your book. Tumlinson suggests building an email list for people who may be interested in your work, as well as taking advantage of social media without becoming “too spammy.”

Should you record some sales, Tumlinson suggests self-published authors could take a royalties of up to 70 percent on their work (compared with less than 5 percent using the traditional publishing method).

The best part?

All of this can be done as you travel in your RV.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2019-08-13

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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