Day trip, anyone?

Travel is one of the most freeing things a writer can do to jump-start faltering creativity. For me, a good road trip is balm for the soul, opening my mind and heart and allowing me to instantly access my inner happy place. I put the car in gear, slip on my sunglasses and poof – the weight of the world just melts away. Anxiety is replaced with calm, curious peace. The sunlight beaming through my car window, the hum of the road beneath my tires, the music coming through my speakers, all of it combines in a liberating burst of sensory Prozac. And that's just a day trip.

Hopping on a plane takes it one step further. Not only do you get the literal getaway, but finding yourself in an entirely different environment just hours after you began your journey is simply exhilarating. Sometimes it's dizzying, and that can be even better for the creative spirit. New smells, sights and sounds equal fun new scenes, plots and characters.

Traveling by train is my personal favorite. You get the quick travel and the far-off destination teamed with the sensory overload. (For those of you who have yet to experience journey by rail, think chugga-chugga with sterile airplane ambience, plus you can visit the train lounge whenever you get stir crazy.) Several of my stories got their start courtesy of Amtrak.

Life experience is critical for any writer, and there's nothing like travel to ramp our emotional maturity up a notch. So the next time you start feeling blah about a project, start scouring the map. A journey might be just what you need.