Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Taking my show on the road

I had a Christmas anxiety dream the other night. I know. I start with the anxiety dreams early.

My parents were taking me some place fun and wonderful for the holidays, and I had finished packing, but realized I had forgotten to save my novel to bring it with me. Of course, this being a dream, saving was taking forever, then my jump drive wouldn't work, and my computer crashed. And my mom was screaming at me that we were going to miss our flight to some place fun and wonderful.

But anyway, all this anxiety got me thinking: how does your writing travel?

I spent a day in Exeter last week (Hi lovely SW SCBWI people! Hi Candy!). It meant missing my morning writing time, but in exchange I got several hours in a train (for some reason, I always do some of my best writing in trains). But how to bring my revisions on Project Demo? The easiest would've been to haul my laptop along, except then I would've had to haul my laptop along, find places to plug it in when the battery got low, and hope to get a train seat with a table. I thought about printing out a handful of pages I needed to edit, but seeing as it's a macro-edit kind of thing, that would mean a lot of pages. Plus, what if I really got going, and accomplished a lot, but ran out of pages to work on? And I refused to print out my whole book. Again, hauling. In the end, I saved my novel as a pdf, and uploaded it to my ereader on my iPod. I couldn't type my changes directly into the document, but I could reference it and rewrite my changes by hand in my notebook. The following day it was fairly simple to go back through my notes and type everything up.

It's not like I travel every day, so I don't feel the need to run out and get a netbook or an iPad or whatever to make my on-the-go writing easier. But it got me thinking. With the holidays coming up (including a long flight back to the US, and hopefully some spare quiet moments amidst all the holiday and family stuff), I could use some ideas. So, how does your writing travel?

*The picture is mine, a steam engine from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Unfortunately I was NOT traveling in one of these lovelies last week!*


  1. I marvel at writers who type away at coffee shops or on airplanes. For me real writing requires I be settled.

  2. Mirka: I guess we each have our own difficulties. The one thing I can't do is write with lots of noise. I had to put my writing away on the way home because some drunk guys got on the train and were yelling various things (and then the train conductor started joking around with them. Excuse me! Tell the drunk people to stop yelling! Sorry... mini-rant in my blog comments ;) ).

  3. The save-to-eReader suggestion is WONDERFUL, Anne! Why didn't I think about that before? {slaps self on head} Find a typo, highlight it, fix it tomorrow. Plus, seeing it in a new medium makes inconsistencies really pop out.

  4. Anne: Aw, you're supposed to be giving ME suggestions, not the other way around! ;) Just the same, glad to give you an idea you can use! You're definitely right about the benefits of seeing the ms in a different medium.

  5. I find I just can't work on the train, unless I'm in the quiet car (ie. no talking - including cell phones!). Even with my earplugs, I just can't tune everyone else around me out well enough to get settled and write.

    Now - if I was in first class! then I could write. The set up in some of those cars is much more conducive to writing.

    When I went to Paris I had aspirations of using the long ride to do some writing, but oy! The TGV packs extra rows of seats in those trains! I felt so wedged and so close to my seat-neighbour, I didn't do much more than make some notes for a blog post.

    Elisabeth <-- who traveled by train today but didn't do anything but read and look out the window at the scenery

  6. Elisabeth: I imagine heaven is something like the quiet car. ;) I find I can tune out background noise fairly easily, but loud conversations, shouting, and especially giggling drive me batty. Luckily I usually only get that in the mornings and evenings. That's too bad that the train to Paris was so unproductive! Ugh. Wonder what the Chunnel is like...

  7. Train travel is pretty rare for me, but I do a lot of writing in a parked car waiting on children. I am referred to as a "bag" lady because I *always* carry a writing bag with folder (hard-copy of current chapter), book, notebook and pens. I realize I am a dinosaur from the 20th century relying on so much paper (!) but it so much easier than worrying about computers, plugs, phones, batteries, how the weather might hurt electronics, etc.

    A long plane ride I might consider an electronic solution, but usually its too much stress.

  8. Bridgette: Totally agree. I definitely hit a point with the train travel the other day (as I have at many points in the past) where I thought, wouldn't it be easier just to bring a stack of paper? Had I only been working on chapter, I probably would have.

    I love how we each find our own times / places to work. I can totally imagine how you might end up spending a lot of time waiting in your car in between ferrying children places. Good for you for making the most of your time!


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