When people think of writers, I often wonder if the old image of someone bent over a typewriter still comes to mind.
You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you? Older person, bent with age and life’s hardships, brows knitted, cigarette barely hanging on to his/her lip, and a cold cup of coffee next to their stack of papers.
Mentally a lot of us are still that poor, bent creature, bleeding onto the pages that creative life source. But outwardly we’re not, getting words down is convenient. Writing nowadays can be as simple as whipping out the smart phone, tapping an icon, and then talking. Seriously, you can write via voice-to-text, and it’s pretty darned accurate!
Getting an idea down on paper is no longer a mad scramble for a pencil and the back of an old receipt. With the cloud and access points literally everywhere, we can add to our manuscripts whenever and wherever we feel like it.
To illustrate my point, let me list out the different places where I’ve added to my stories:
- In bed, sleepy, using swipe technology to bang out a chapter on my phone.
- In the car going anywhere, personal hand recorder, talking out some dialogue or an action scene.
- The toilet – Just being real, if it’s a lengthy session, I write.
- Going camping (glamping if I’m honest) – laptop inside the tent once the fire’s out and people are sleeping.
- Stuck at a party or other event? Solution: Phone plus cloud and writing app (for me this would be Google Docs which is a part of Google Drive … literally plugged in everywhere)
- In the car as a passenger – the few times I’m not shotgun tasked with keeping the driver awake – swipe technology and Google docs, or Bluetooth keyboard with Word app.
Now you know part of the reason why some of us are so prolific. It isn’t because we care less, or write worse than our ancestors, it’s that we have technology that we take advantage of!
My favorite time and place to write
One thing that strikes me as ironic is that I get my best writing done when it’s inconvenient. I feel so creative when I’m stuck doing something else, and the best ideas seem to pop up around those times. Right now I am the most creative right before bed when I’m yawning so much that my tears obscures my vision. Having the phone handy allows me to still get my thoughts out, but boy do I wish it would happen earlier in the day.
My favorite time to write is when I am in the Florida Keys. It is a beautiful place that has enough in common with an island to put my mind in a place that is difficult to emulate. Typically we go there once a year for vacation, and aside from drinking, fishing, and swimming, I am a typing machine wearing out the keys on my laptop.
I can’t explain why it’s so easy to write there, but I know that it isn’t a vacation thing. I’ve tried writing in Las Vegas and it just doesn’t happen.
My advice to people wanting to write anywhere? Utilize the Cloud!
Get on a cloud platform that you like/trust, and then synch the app to your smart phone. iPhone hive mind can use the Apple iCloud and save your works in progress on a folder there. For Android users I recommend Google Drive, especially since it is so easy to access from the Chrome desktop browser. I write in MS Word, but the splintered parts that make up my chapters are all within Google Drive. Here’s a snapshot of one of my folders. As you can see it’s an organized mess!
If you don’t trust Google or Apple, then there’s Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive by Microsoft. Lots of options out there, but the important thing is to always being connected.
Segment your Writing
I’ve found that writing scenes takes up a lot of my mental focus. I simply cannot be driving through traffic and giving you good detail on what is happening at a place inside of one of my stories. This is partially due to the way I write, I give a lot of detail, so if I cannot visualize it to tell you, it just won’t work. Driving while I do that could be fatal, so I save my driving for recording dialogue and action.
Another issue I have is writing dialogue while people around me are talking. See where I’m going with all of this? I write what I can depending on where I am. If I have a scene in mind and I am driving, I’ll just put a reminder like, “describe Synth City bar at the beginning, here.”
Once you know what you’re comfortable with, you can write like this, and you will be able to get through your manuscripts a lot faster than before.
So … let us wrap this. What are your favorite places to write, and do you have any other tips for writing anywhere?