2018 Wrap-Up: How Did Being Digital Nomads Affect Our Writing Careers?


When Brent and I left Seattle in December of 2017, we had a lot of questions about our upcoming lives of a 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? (Yes, no problem at all, mostly because most of the other people were dorks like us.)

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: We both got a lot more done. 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 this, as well as hundreds of posts for Facebook.

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

Why were we so productive? Here are our theories:

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

Neither of us has ever suffered from writer’s block or a lack of ideas to write about. But procrastination? We’ve both been guilty of surfing the blogs and reading the news as a way to avoid that chapter that’s making us bonkers.

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

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

(2) We 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 us some breathing room and reminded us 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: that 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.