Writing on the commute

What to do on long bus rides by your lonesome? I can’t possibly sleep the entire six or when traffic’s horrible twelve hours (!) although I did that several times from pure exhaustion. I get dizzy reading while on the road so that activity’s out. And I’m not one to use my tablet for hours on end. So what to do? Watch the movie being played, yes but only when I find it interesting. Daydream, yes. Write? No and yes. I write in my mind, and later type up what’s left in my memory improving from there- that’s how pen lazy I am (which is to say I need better writing habits). But it’s a wonder that anyone can actually write while on commute. Recall Fifty Shades writer E.L. James who wrote a substantial part in her Blackberry phone while riding to work.

I was browsing one of my favorite sites Writers Digest and came upon this by Jonathan Stone another well-known writer who did his novels – seven of them – on his Connecticut-Manhattan commute.

writing inside the trainwhy have I written my novels on the train? Simple answer: because I had to. My kids were infants, then toddlers, and needed and deserved my full attention at home. My day job – as the creative director of an ad agency in midtown Manhattan – was increasingly demanding and intense. The only time I had to myself – entirely to myself – was an hour on the train into work, and an hour on the train back home. Two blissfully uninterrupted hours, five days a week. (Note to reader: my first novel was written in 1997 and published in 1999, before email and cell phones, so the commute was a little more silent and sacrosanct than it is today. I’ve had to learn to turn off cell phone and ignore email – hard to do, admittedly.)

Now, I’m pretty disciplined, but I’m not a machine. Sometimes I sleep. Sometimes I read the paper. It turns out I’m human. But when I have an idea for a novel that I like, I like it enough to look forward to getting back to it as soon as I take my seat, in my regular spot in my regular train car on my regular morning express.

Continue reading at writersdigest.com



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