The previous back and forth with Amber raised my curiosity about where other writers write and what they use to create. We live in a time where mobile devices allow us to write almost anywhere. Of course that has almost always been true for those of us who prefer pen and paper. But it seems that now, more than ever, our writing rooms can come with us wherever we may roam.
What about you?
I’ll start, since it’s my post. The oddest place I’ve written was sitting on my stomach in our hallway, guarding the door to my daughter’s bedroom when she was a toddler. Of our four, she was the child who simply would not go to bed. So for maybe three months, I spent about an hour every night making sure she stayed in her room until she finally fell asleep. During this time, on my laptop, I wrote an entire novel.
I have also written 500+ word articles (that were late) on a laptop, sitting on the side of the road in my truck.
My favorite place to write today is the hour I spend each Tuesday at my son’s piano lesson. It’s so peaceful there and the music seems to stimulate my creativity. In this case I use the WriteRoom app on my iPad with a ZAGG/mate keyboard.
So where do you write and what do you use?
The places I never write:
All my writing is done on the move. I actually like to write in a couple of different mediums to suit my mood. Two of these are on me at all times during the regular working week for stolen moments I can find:
- a work laptop (Windows) with Scrivener, notepad, Word and Excel on it.
- a Smythson notebook (A4) and a waterman gentleman fountain pen with a medium nib
So in terms of places it’s hotels, cafes, and trains. There is a BBQ joint I like which shows American sports and plays blues music where I sometimes sit and write with a beer and a basket of wings.
When I worked with the soccer team, and had access to the stadium 24/7, I used to go up to the rafters and write…
I had to look up what a Smythson notebook was. Beautiful.
And a big giant stadium has some serious possibilities, although I’m not sure about comfort. Depends on where you plant yourself. This from a guy who wrote on the floor for several months.
Probably the strangest place I’ve written recently was at a picnic table in a campground, scribbling away in my Soul Skin with a Lamy Safari fountain pen. (Although I own a number of fountain pens, most of which are at least twice the price, my fine-point Safari is my new favorite pen.)
I also write in coffee shops and restaurants, at a sushi bar, at my desk, in the living room while sitting on the sofa and watching TV with my family, and once while sitting on the bathroom floor. (I was trying not to wake my partner.) Anywhere and everywhere, I suppose, though writing in a moving vehicle is more difficult than I’m willing to deal with.
At some bus stop shelter in Northeast Portland with a fold-out keyboard and a Palm Pilot perched on a dictionary. I guess the point being, “wherever it needs to happen”.
Nice. I’ve used my Nintendo DS using DSOrganize to jot down ideas.
Do they have a cartridge for that?
Sorta. You’ve got to use a flash cartridge. I’ve got an old R4 (before they started to suck) There’s some really nifty homebrew software. Here’s DSOrganize’s webpage: dsorganize.dragonminded.com/
Which makes me wonder if there are many actual writing rooms left. We all seem to writing everywhere but at a great mahogany desk, surrounded by a library of books, draped in a red velvet smoking jacket, pipe hanging from our mouth as we scribble on tattered parchment with feather quill.
Actually, in that situation, I think I’d be taking a nap… (I just bored myself)
This is, by the way, EXACTLY how I imagine Vic writes.
Not that I spend much of my free time thinking about Vic.
Blimey, is it that time already? I’d best be off…
In the words of a very famous and much revered Stockportian,
(Strange according to other people. Me, I think it’s normal to have a bucket of well-used swords to hand and a library of occult tomes handy on the shelf.)
I work at Rusk State Hospital as a direct care aide with mentally ill patients of various conditions. There is very little time to write but occasionally I’m given a reprieve when I’m sitting on observation as my patient sleeps. I jot down my ideas on whatever is around me, mostly steno pads we use to document patient reports on. As stressful as my job can get, my character suffers from delusions/hallucinations and the environment gives me plenty to play off of. Also, while i’m on break I load up Scrivener on my laptop and rework my ideas into my story.
I typed with the same set-up in numerous places - sitting in a car (but not while driving. Obviously), plane, lecture theatre (regardless of whether a lecture was in progress), café; God knows where else.
My notebook(s) have been used anywhere I have a pen & enough light to see, including sitting in a tree (my favourite), a tent, lying on the beach, in a bath and on a boat. Trains can be difficult, but they are much easier than cars on a rough dirt track.
This I often found myself working on my thesis on my iPhone when on the bus or tram. Awfully small screen to be typing on but, in the same vein as AmberV, needs must.
You know, nearly a decade later I still have yet to find a good replacement for that setup. Only thing that comes close is the AlphaSmart, and that thing is huge. You need a laptop case to carry it around. With the old Palm setup, you got:
- Automatic synchronisation of files with your hard drive
- Three or so days of battery time
- A near full-featured RTF word processor that handled stylesheets, comments, footnotes, and more.
- A keyboard that you could actually type at 100wpm on, with full access to menus and cursor movement.
- Small enough to slip into pockets or wallet sized slots in bags and cases.
- And it all set you back only around $100 USD.
My Toshiba Satellite laptop lasts about 3 hours max (on the average, more like two) and weighs tons. Almost a non-portable machine, so I’m trying to do something similar with a Nook Color and CyanogenMod7. Got the NC at Overstock.com for $150 (including shipping). CM7 and the Android Market seem to be working well. I still have to get a keyboard, mouse, USB->micro-USB cable, and a text editor. Then I should be able to write in more places than I can now. Fingers crossed.
Try OfficeSuite Pro. I put that on my Fire and its a pretty decent RTF editor that integrates with Scrivener’s files nicely.