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Time is a precious and rare commodity for any aspiring author who is also trying to pay the bills. For years, I have struggled to carve a few precious hours into the day for transferring my busy imagination into words. I often crammed a sentence or paragraph in just before bed, just to get a little closer to telling the epic story within my mind.
Then, about a year and a half ago, I discovered a time machine.
While it doesn’t go 88 mph, nor is it bigger on the inside, it does mystically add 2-3 hours of uninterrupted, minimal-distraction writing time.
Also, it lowers my use of gas by 70%, and helps save the environment.
What is this glamorous, miraculous vehicle?
The inter-county public bus.
As the bus chugs along the freeway, I put on a good pair of head phones and drift into the vast fictional universe within my mind. Riding along the freeway, I set up epic battles, heart-breaking twists, build suspense, and then rush to get one more word in as we pull towards the bus stop.
All this as traffic looks like this:
Or, when this happens:
When I first started I toted my laptop every day. While my laptop is a handy tool, it was slightly cumbersome and difficult to use when the bus is tightly packed. Also, I’m always looking for a good reason to buy a snappy gadget. Thus, over the summer, I invested in a Google Nexus 7 tablet and a bluetooth keyboard.
Little did I know the bus comes with a custom-sized window sill designed specifically for tablets.
With the keyboard resting on my desk tray (aka my lap), I can type smoothly and quickly.
You may notice two of the F Key’s are missing. Much as I solve most things, I turned to duct tape for the answer. Thus, this custom bluetooth keyboard sleeve made of duct tape and construction paper. Durable and stylish.
The great thing about a tablet is its portability. As I’m walking to my car, or out doing errands, I can finish etching out that one piece of dialogue, or that one scene.
There are some challenges and distractions:
1. As the bus jolts around, some letters are missed or multiplied, creating many typos to fix later.
2. Being a public bus, there are the interesting happenings that occur now and then due to a disorderly passenger. For example, there was the day a man who appeared homeless was cussing out a group of girls between 10 and 12 because they had glanced at him.
3. Riding the bus every day, I’ve made friends who I enjoy talking to and checking in with. I think this is a worthwhile distraction, and most have the first drop-off, and I have the last drop-off. This gives me an extra 15 minutes, and an excuse to say hello.
4. There are all the other things I can do on a tablet. E-books and and nifty, shiny games beckon as I’m pushing through writer’s block. Angry Birds Space has never been so dangerous.
Still, thanks to my time machine/bus, I’m able to edge just a little closer to completing my Great Novel every day.
Oh, and did I mention the view?
Do you have your own time machine that helps you carve out time to write? Where is your favorite place to write? If you were to have a time machine, would you rather have a Delorian or a TARDIS?
BRIEF SHOUT-OUT: This post is partially inspired by Railcard Recovery from Cesca Say, in which she has a picture of a convenient tray on her commuting train, and Destination Inspiration from Harvesting Hecate, in which the author celebrates bus journeys.