Writing in Transit

Photo Credit: Sebastiano Pitruzzello

Trains have become an integral part of my life and we’re not talking a daily half hour commute here. For over a year now I have happily been in a long-distance relationship and enjoying it. I’m often asked how I manage the distance and my response quite honestly is that I have the best of both worlds, I have some great weekends as a couple and enjoying the relationship stuff and the rest of the time I get to do my own thing and be my own person. It’s great!

There is also another upside. When it’s my turn to make the four hour journey down to London and back I have something I have always struggled to squeeze into my life- dedicated writing time. No one disturbances, not even a television to distract me. I can be one of those busy writerly types scribbling away while I transported down the country.

That was the hope anyway but as you have probably guessed by now it didn’t quite work out like that. I have tried and had intentions every single time I have made this journey but only a handful of times have I ever succeeded in getting anything written and I have to be honest- it wasn’t very good!

On occasion I imagine I have had some sort of excuse- noisy passengers, an overcrowded carriage or a stress-induced headache- but I have also sat there in a quiet near-empty carriage listening to music while looking out the window and making no attempt to reach for my notebook.

Maybe I just can’t write while on the train. I have been known to sit very comfortably reading Writing Magazine only to end up feeling sick and in need of a nap! But… I want to change this, I am spending eight hours a month on a train where I could be doing something constructive, that’s a full working day!

So I put it to my readers-

Can you write on a train and if you can how do you do it?

I’m wide open for advice on this one. Alternatively should I just give in, enjoy the journey and use my status as a writer as an excuse to eavesdrop on the conversation of fellow passengers.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rob Crompton
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 09:29:18

    I enjoy long train journeys but there’s never a chance that I could write whilst travelling. I’m a compulsive window gazer and even if I’m on a journey I’ve done scores of times I’m still keen not to miss a thing out there.
    So my advice – yes, just give in and enjoy it. Time enjoyed is never time wasted.


  2. Tracy Fells
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 17:29:21

    If you’re finding it hard to write then let your mind wander. I love right brain activities like driving, swimming, and train sitting, to plot out stories. But then I can only write once I have the plotline worked out for a short story.
    And yes you can overhear some terrific conversations – so don’t plug yourself into headphones!


  3. liz young
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 22:46:52

    Definitely eavesdrop and make notes – but I’m late visiting this post and you’ve already given up the train journeys!


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