A Phone of One’s Own

May 24, 2017

Everyone writer has a vision of an ideal writing space. Whether that be the stereotypical quiet room filled with books, a big oak desk, and possibly a quill, or just simply a quiet room with ample time and unlimited access to books and writing materials. But in a world that is so fast-paced, it’s often impossible to find time to sit at all, never mind at a desk, to write, especially if you’re the type of person who enjoys being out and about. The issue here isn’t really the lack of ideas or writer’s block. It’s about writing while on the move and doing so in a way that gives your work the time and attention it deserves. As an active person who’d take a walk around the block over a TV show any day, I sometimes forget to make time to write, which seems silly to say as someone in a graduate program for writing, but I think it’s the cliché of the desk that makes it that way. At least for me. So instead of fully sacrificing being active to write, I’ve tried to find ways to incorporate writing into my current lifestyle.

When I was younger, I used to write before bed, but for the first time in my life, I actually need the sleep. I had to find a new time to write, but can’t really quit my job and am pretty unwilling to give up my active daily routine. The idea came to me on the train, one of the few times during the day where I am both still and inspired. While people-watching, I came up with a start of a story and instinctively pulled out my phone and wrote down my notes. This was the first time I had ever done that, and it changed everything for me. Why had I not been using my phone like this before? I can’t be the first person to do this. Prior to this instinctive response, I’d have an idea without a pen, tell myself I’d write the idea down at home, or when I was done at work or done at the gym and then go about my day forgetting my idea and not really willing to sit down long enough to remember what I was thinking about, or just being too tired at the end of the day to think hard enough to get it back. Ever since then, I’ve realized the Notes app is actually useful for more than just grocery lists. It’s a way to write all the time, whenever you have thought about something new. Public transit is my best friend for story starters, but writing on my phone also works in most other aspects of the active lifestyle. I can write on my walk, I can write on my bike (don’t worry, I pull over), I can write waiting in line at the store. You’d be amazed how much you can fine tune a plot line while in line at the grocery store at five p.m. on a weekday. Not only have I been able to start new stories and develop them enough to the point at which I actually want to finish them, I’ve been able to arrive at that stage without having to be trapped inside my room that much. Which is great for someone like me.

The key to make this work is having a smaller device to carry with you at all times, and since everyone has a phone, you’re pretty much covered. Ultimately, you will be sitting down eventually to expand on your ideas and complete your story on an actual desktop, but minimizing the downtime has greatly helped my writing in terms of producing material. Most of us are inspired by our surroundings and having that organic response to inspiration on the spot is not only helpful, but makes sitting down and writing at the coveted desk an enjoyable experience instead of just locking myself in a room and waiting anxiously for something to come.

Jessica Hanch, Assistant Editor

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