Write Anywhere, Anytime: You Don't Need a Desk, a Chair, a Lamp, or a Laptop to Write
Writing on a bench on the Brooklyn Promenade Walk.
Louis L’Amour wrote — “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until until the faucet is turned on.” I say — “Write anywhere, anytime, no matter what.”
Write in a baseball field.
Write with a broken arm.
Write in the chemo infusion room.
Write in your hospital bed.
Write in the waiting room.
Write in a moving car.
Write in the forest.
Write in your sleep.
Write in a tent.
You don’t always need a desk, a chair, a lamp, or a laptop to write.
I wrote the drafts of two peer-review research papers while watching my son’s middle school baseball games. I’d lug my research data and notes and just write when he wasn’t on the mound throwing strikes. I wrote over the entire season. Nine innings is a long time. So write.
Eight years ago I broke my left arm while shoveling snow on our driveway. I slipped on a patch of ice. I suffered bad left humerus fracture. But I didn’t let one broken arm stop me from writing.
Armed with a sling, my headphones, and my Dragon Dictate program, I wrote a doctoral paper on the letters of St. Teresa of Avila, a prolific writer, via dictation. I used my right index finger to edit words, sentences, paragraphs, footnotes, and the bibliography one letter at a time. I used my right index finger to revise, edit, and finalize the 37-page paper. You don’t need all your fingers to strike the keys and to write.
Chemo Infusion Room
I've written for my website blog and for Medium while accompanying my husband in the chemo infusion room. Chemo infusion can take hours. As his chemo drips into his vein, I write with either pencil and paper or on my laptop.
I wrote the beginning of another doctoral paper, this time about the tears of the Desert Fathers, while a hospital patient for 14 days. My medical nightmare and being hooked up to machines didn’t stop me from starting that paper.
I wrote How I Trained for My First 24 Hour Track Ultra and Logged 81 Miles the day after I ran 81 miles, and while I waited in a hospital’s family surgical lounge waiting room. My husband was in surgery seven hours. Although my body was exhausted and my feet were beaten after running for 24 hours, the last 11 hours in the rain, my mind was alert. Surgery is a scary thing. The wait can be long.
I treated my worry about my husband’s cancer surgery with a strong dose of writing. Writing provided me calm and respite. Seven hours in the waiting room was more than enough time to write. My article was curated on Medium the next day.
A Moving Car
Writing in a moving car while someone else is driving is productive. I wrote the start of a doctoral paper on Thomas Merton, nature, and wilderness in the back seat of our car while my husband drove us to visit our son at Boston College on many occasions. The 12-hour round-trip ride provided me with a lot of writing time.
The first article I wrote for Thrive Global — There Are 10,080 Minutes in a Week: You Have Plenty of Time to Thrive and be Productive — was written in the passenger seat as my husband drove us home from my father-in-law’s 90th birthday dinner at night in the rain.
While my husband drove us from Congaree National Park in South Carolina to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, I wrote a 864 word story draft in the passenger seat for Chicken Soup for the Soul. The next day in the motel, I edited the story and submitted it. Running in Sickness and in Health was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul - Running for Good.
So strap on your seat-belt and write.
The solitude of the forest inspires me to write. While hiking on the Green River Bluffs Trail in Mammoth Cave national park in Kentucky, I brainstormed another article idea. I pulled out my iPhone. As I moved my feet forward on the trail, I dictated my story idea into my Notes app.
You don’t have to lack writing ideas when you’re sleeping. Some of my best writing ideas are born while sleeping. Just like I get up to write down my dreams, I get up to scribble topic ideas that pop up in my sleep and wake me up so I can write them down and not forget them.
I keep pencils and a writing pad next to my bed. When an idea pops up, I roll over, grab a pencil and pad, jot down my idea, and go back to sleep with a smile.
I’m a bit like Henry David Thoreau.Thoreau wrote, “I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.”
I wrote this piece after 10 pm on a Friday night in the dark. I was waiting for the midnight start of my 60-hour multi-day ultramarathon race — A Race for the Ages in Tennessee Labor Day weekend 2019.
While my husband was hand pumping the queen size air mattress for him to sleep in while I ran, I wrote this piece in the dark in the tent on the ground. The only light before me was the light from the screen of my fully charged iPad. It suited me just fine.
Write Anywhere, Anytime
Henry David Thoreau wrote, "Write while the heat is in you.” I would add, “Write while the heat is in you anywhere, anytime, no matter what.”
Use paper and pencil. Use electronic devices. Write in darkness. Write in daylight. Write indoors. Write outdoors. Write in nature. Write in your sleep. Write in the dark. Write wherever you are planted.
Write anywhere, anytime, no matter what.