Last week I spokeabout finishing the latest draft of my novel, and how I dashed from the trainto a coffee shop to get everything finished. I was on a roll, and I wanted toget it done! So this week I thought I’d share a little about how I managed toturn my commute into what I like to call a ‘creative cauldron.’ It’s helpedwith my latest drafts, and it’s helped my writing across the board. Iwholeheartedly recommend it!
My commute ain’t easy bud. I outlined it way back in one of the first posts on the blog and since then, if anything, it’s got more difficult. I’ve moved house, and have decided to cycle when I get into London. That means I’ve moved my departure time forward to get into the big city before the crowds and the traffic increase at the height of rush hour, and everything starts to get very dangerous for cyclists.
When that alarm goes off at 5.45 I let out a little grown. Luckily I’m a morning person, but 5.45 still feels like the night some mornings (especially now in the beginning of November, when the darkness can be oppressive). Then I’m down the hill (thank goodness for the downhill!) and onto the train. Then fifty minutes on the train (if I’m lucky) and twenty minutes on the bike in London. Then I start work. So I’d count that as a pretty hardcore commute.
I’m sure there’s people with more difficult commutes than me, but this one can sometimes hit me hard. The trick with a challenge though? Turn it into an opportunity!
A creative cauldron
Every morning, providing I get a seat, I take a second to check my emails and close my eyes. I made it down the hill, I made it onto the train. Well done Phil. I think a little about what I’d like to do on the train, and what tools I have to accomplish it. Depending on the status of my latest creative project I might have a notebook with me, or I might have my laptop. So the I ask myself the question what do I want to do today?
The best bit about the crappy wifi on the trains I use is that when I have the laptop open there’s no internet to distract me. I can look at old emails all I like, but my main source of entertainment becomes my writing. That’s important to me – especially on the days that I’m distracted or tired (see below) – as it means I don’t really have a choice but to write. Have you tried changing your own environment to create these situation? Perhaps it means flight mode, perhaps it means leaving the house and writing in a café that you don’t know the wifi password.But there will be a way you can do it. We’re so distracted with social media these days that it’s difficult to focus on the things that we enjoy doing. But we must.
Sometimes, I’ll start writing and my eyes will close or cross. The weather outside will be creating an interesting vista (at least until we reach London) and I’ll want to take in some of the lovely Essex countryside. On those days I don’t want to write. My brain won’t like it. It won’t let me think of anything creative, anything boring, anything at all. Or I’ll be falling asleep. It probabably happens to you to. It happens to every writer.
The trick is not to punish yourself for the rest of the day if your creative cauldron overturns. Remember, everyone wants you to do well, and writing is a marathon not a sprint. Try and get something down, even if it’s a sentence. Then take that success with you. One sentence today means that tomorrow guess what – you have one less sentence to write.
The creative cauldron
For most of us, a commute is a nessecary evil. But hopefully I’ve inspired you to have a go at turning it into something a little more useful. When you get used to it, you’ll be writing so much in your time on the train or bus you won’t remember how you used to write without the clackety clack of wheels, or the car horns outside.