How Traveling Impacts Your Writing with Colin Ashby

Welcome to #FriendFriday, an interview-style guest post series every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. Want to be the next interviewee? Send me an email!

Good morning, friends! Today we're here with Colin Ashby, traveling writer, blogger and Twitter friend. I'm so happy to have him here to talk to you about his writing journey.

Thank you, Colin!

Here's your intro question. Tell me about yourself in less than 70 words.

Anything Parks and Recreation is great in my mind. I have a little piece of the Internet over at colinashby.org. In the years leading up to now I’ve done everything from starring in a theatre production as a lonely scientist, news reporting, media monitoring at a PR agency and more. Now I’ve settled into a day job while writing my novel Life Outside the Ramen on nights and weekends.

You're a blogger, writer, and adventurer. Tell us how you got started.

I was forced into blogging. Haha. In Fall 2013 I had a digital media class and the professor made it a class requirement for all the students to keep a Wordpress blog. At first I thought blogging was just something people did for fanfiction or personal reasons. Boy, was I wrong. Within a few months I had started to enjoy it and connected with other bloggers through Twitter.

All of the bloggers I interacted with through social media were so passionate about what they did. It was contagious! It helped me focus more on the goals I had.

Let's put you to the test. As a travel fan, what's the importance of travel on your writing?

Writing is all about the depth of characters. Traveling is something that forces you to interact with people from a different way of life.  It gives you experience to draw from than you may not have gotten from everyday life.

The novel I’m writing now centers on a weekly support group filled with people from different walks of life. So much was learned about the people I met while traveling.  While on a cruise ship to Mexico, I met a lady who was lawyer but hated it. Visiting San Francisco, the motel clerk named Maddie, was super upbeat and wanted to tell me about all the cool clubs to go to. Once, while crossing the street in Los Angeles, I met a girl who was from Australia and worked at Pandora.

Traveling exposed me to the different ambitions, daily lives, and struggles of people from all across the country. I’ve been putting the things I encountered into some of the characters in my writing.

If you could be the author of any novel in history, which novel would that be and why?

Er, this is tricky. You’re probably expecting me to say some classic novel, right? I’ll go on the opposite end with something different.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold is a novel I would have loved to be the author of. It’s a character driven road trip novel centering on a 16-year-old girl going to find her mother. (typical, right? So not!) The writing is so good. It’s quirky yet philosophical, coming of age yet not cliché.

There’s a lot of road trip and coming of age novels but Mosquitoland really feels like something you’ve never read before.

And finally, before we let you go, what's the best advice you've received and how did it get you here today?

This is a hard question! I’ve gotten a lot of great advice. It’s like asking a parent to choose their favorite child, haha. One piece of advice that resonated with me was something a professor from college told me. He said:

There’s something you need to know about adulthood. Things are bad and it don’t always get easier but you develop the confidence in yourself to realize it’s fine and you’ll be okay regardless of what life throws at you.

I love the quote and it perfectly sums up the uneasy nature of growing up and having a hard time adulting.