I literally run along a concrete pathway to be on time for a literary appointment this morning. I run because the last fifteen minutes was spent going back and forth trying to decipher where Swasti Eco Cottages actually is and a long early drive is something I’ve never been good at doing. The second helpful man finally gives me the correct clue and thus, allow me to find my way to what already feels like a treasure quest. Much like Dorothy and the yellow brick road, a continuous yellow flower usually used in Balinese offering, was placed to show this sleepy traveler that it is indeed the right way. After all, yellow flower in the canang sari offering does symbolize the power of intuition.
a delicious and healthy lunch provided by helpful staff of Swasti Eco Cottage, we continue our class by writing a paragraph about our experience in that place. Don gives us a liberty to write about anything we find interesting and later urges us to read it aloud (gasp!). For about twenty minutes all I hear are a scratch on paper, rickety bamboo chair being nervously moved and twenty brains excavating hidden, sophisticated adjectives from dusty drawers of dictionary. Few encouraging words and nervous glances later, the first writer speaks up, including yours truly. I’ve been joining a workshop like this a few time and only this time, I find the courage to read my writing in public and that writing becomes the first opening paragraph of this entry.
A successul piece of writing is when the writer managed to guide the reader to experience what he or she has experienced. Hence, pay attention to the details and always be curious.
Being in a travel writer set of mind allows you to become a better traveler.
The Q and A session afterward is truly fascinating. Don tells us some behind-the-scenes anecdotes and stories and tips on how to get published, his favorite travel book and how travel writing won’t make anyone rich but “you get rich in the account of experience.” He even read an excerpt from his 1978 notebook when Bali was part of his trip.
This might be the best workshop class I have ever attended so far in Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. I don’t think I will drop everything and take the plunge to be a full time travel writer or a digital nomad anytime soon, but this class is giving me a more thorough understanding on how to be a better writer, an open-minded traveler and perhaps, if I’m lucky and if I work on my writing hard enough, get published.