Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Finding the time

It's one of those things that people sometimes say, 'Oh if only I had the time I'd write'. Now leaving aside the implication that somehow time is the only requirement for creating story, characters and dialogue there is the question of how hard is it to find time to write? My own personal experience is that the mechanics of writing has gotten so much easier than it was in the days of pen and paper, or the typewriter. I personally could never get the hang of the latter, especially as I'm the sort of writer who likes to blast out a chunk of text then go back and fix any mistakes or sections that just don't flow. The arrival of the word processor was a god send, although of course at first that meant your were still tied to the desk where said word processor lived.

The advent of the laptop computer may have made it theoretically possible to write anywhere, but in practice I found them clunky and awkward. The only time they were really useful was when you were sat in a hotel room somewhere. the devices that have really freed up writing time for me are the smart phone and the tablet.

With these two devices I can write anywhere whenever I have a free moment and I can make what I write accessible on my computer via cloud storage. It just opens up whole knew opportunities with devices that you really can take wherever you go and are genuinely convenient, so my advice as far as computing goes is have a desktop for home and use a tablet or a decent sized smart phone for everywhere else.

The other thing that's changed is that you used to have to be a little bit anti-social when it comes to writing, you are going to want to spend those spare moment tapping away instead of discussing sports, movies, or what you did last weekend/are going to do this weekend. Again the smartphone and the tablet have come to the rescue here. At lunch time I often walk into the canteen at the office and find a dozen people there. The overwhelming majority of them with headphones on, glued to a screen and watching YouTube, or a video downloaded from Netflix or Amazon Prime. Now it's easy to sit there obliviously typing away, so long as you don't succumb to the blandishments of YouTube yourself.

An added bonus of the inability of people to put down their smartphones is that nobody ever asks what your doing and then follows up with an endless string of questions about what your writing. I find nothing is more likely to kill your enthusiasm for a story than having to repeatedly summarize it for people who have zero interest in your genre of choice and will inevitable utter the words 'Oh if only I had the time...'

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