Writing on the Road

If you can’t be flexible, don’t be a writer.

Deadlines. Emergency phone calls. And you’re on the road again!

Sometimes there is just no choice. Family needs you. Deadlines won’t budge. So you do what you have to do. It may not be ideal, but writing in the car can be do-able.

Writing in a Car

Life just happens, and you have to adjust. You CAN write on the road if you’re really determined.

Did I like working on a laptop in the front seat of a compact car? No. I don’t like typing with my elbows close to my waist or trying to find angles where the sun won’t glint off the screen. Happily, we were driving in the dark a good bit of the time, so the sun wasn’t a huge problem. Did I like writing with the radio blaring? No–I like total quiet to write.

Despite the less-than-ideal writing conditions, I was able to write a whole chapter on the way there and half a chapter on the way home. That was about 4,200 new words of a rough draft. If I hadn’t written, what would I have done otherwise? Daydreamed. Napped. Stared out the window. Read more–although I still managed to read a lot.

Keep the Pump Primed

Besides getting the words down, the writing done in the car will be very helpful to me later today. When I sit down to write, I won’t have to go back and see what I wrote three days ago and try to remember the emotions of that scene or where I was headed with it. It’s still fresh in my mind from writing in the car last night. I can pick up where I left off with little trouble. (By the way, I readily admit that writing with no small children in the car is MUCH easier! When my children were little and I didn’t own a laptop, my writing in the car was done with pencil and notebook, using a flashlight after dark. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!)

All our best laid plans for setting up a writing schedule can go out the window in a moment. We don’t live on islands, but instead in families that require our flexibility. So learn to build that flexibility into your writing life.

By all means, have a set schedule and a favorite place that is most conducive for your writing. But learn to go with the flow too–and fit the writing in whenever and wherever you can. Later, you’ll be glad you did!

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