When You’re Bored…Write!

Are you looking for more time to write your novel during your crazy, hectic schedule? Here’s a suggestion: Use those times when you are forced to sit and wait for an appointment. Even during the pandemic, we still occasionally find ourselves in a waiting room (or waiting in the car in a parking lot) for a doctor or dentist appointment. Don’t spend that “downtime” flipping endlessly through email or social media. Start writing fiction instead.

How does that work, you might ask? Obviously, if you have a laptop with you, writing is very easy. Suppose, however, that you typically do your fiction writing on your desktop computer at home? How can you write in a doctor’s office when your computer is miles away?

The answer is easy — make use of the technology you have with you. Most of our electronic communication devices provide some method to type memos. My phone has a free app called “notes” that allows me to use my phone keyboard to type reminders to myself. Yes, the screen is small and the virtual keyboard is awkward to use, but it is possible to compose fiction using it. Once you get home, you can email the note to yourself and cut-and-paste the text of what you’ve written into your existing manuscript. (There may be other phone apps specifically designed for writing, but I have not researched them. I’m just talking about the free apps that come with your phone.)

If you prefer “old school” methods, you can bring a pen and paper with you to write (or use a spiral notepad). This method is slow and also requires you to type what you’ve written into your manuscript when you get home, but it is possible to write that way. I did it for years before we had modern communication technology. Even now, I tend to keep a paper copy of my latest chapter in my purse for proofreading and revision. I pull it out and work on it whenever I am sitting in the car in a parking lot waiting for John to return.

Another great time to write is while riding in commuter mass transit. Planes, trains, and busses all require you to sit for an extended length of time doing nothing. That’s a great opportunity to write. Some mass transit systems will even provide electrical outlets for your laptop. When you’re waiting in an airport lobby (and we all hope to be back there some day after the pandemic), don’t spend your time staring at the video screens above you. Work on your novel instead.

By the way, I am NOT suggesting that you write while you are driving, even if you are sitting in stopped traffic during rush hour. Don’t try it! Even texting while driving is dangerous (and illegal where I come from).

Maybe that’s another good reason (in addition to helping the environment and relieving personal stress) to commute by mass transit when you can. Think of all the writing you can accomplish!

Susan 4/16/2021

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