Writers talk a lot about finding time to write. I’m one of the writers who works a full-time job outside the home. I’m a librarian and not because I love to read (that’s for another blog). It’s enough to say I have to find time to write. Or make time.
There were years when I couldn’t make any commitment at all to a writing schedule. Family, illness (I’m an MS patient), career, and a loooong commute all conspired against a writing career. Now, though, the kids are grown, the MS is under control and I’ve changed my schedule so I can take the train to my job in the Bronx. No car, no every 6-week oil changes, no zillion $$ in gas each month. And almost ten hours a week to sit back, think and (gasp) write.
Riding the train is all about the schedule – the minutes it takes to get from here to there. My schedule puts me on the train at 7:04 a.m. every weekday. I change trains at 7:52. That’s 48 minutes when I can write. A take-out cup of coffee, get up the stairs and across the causeway to the tracks, and I’m back down on the platform in time to claim my favorite seat. Even better, morning trains are super quiet. After all, we just woke up!
When I decided to start writing again, I started carrying a notebook with me in my satchel. Now I settle back and pull that moleskin out. Slip the elastic, move the bookmark to a fresh page and note the date. For this morning:
5/18 Why her? His usual GF – dark, sensual, stormy.
Her: cool, blonde, composed
— his challenge: rattle her cage
Why him? Her usual – stormy artist BUT she has broken that habit.
Wants a stable life
Sam = bad boy Nicole =control
Yes, these are just notes on what the main characters’ normal dating patterns are and how these two people will be thrown off balance. But I can begin to visualize the scenes Nicole and Sam will be pushing each other’s buttons and what they might think as the action unfolds. Plus, I promise myself that I have not finished my writing for the day until I’ve made those notes into paragraphs in a scene on the laptop at home. Turning the pages back this evening, I saw a cryptic note: Keep Grandma? Dad? Nursing home?
Well, I did keep the grandmother in the story, but the father is currently dead. Which means I have to write a scene of mourning for lost father/daughter bonding opportunities. Which means I’ll begin drafting that on the train sometime soon.
In four more weeks, though, school will be out and I’ll be off for the summer. I won’t be riding the train in the morning again until September. Or will I? I’m considering buying a $139 monthly commuter ticket for June, July and August and making myself get on that train. Just to keep myself in the habit. I could be riding the rails, watching the scenery spin by and having nothing to do but scribble in that notebook or maybe even bring a laptop. Who knows? The MTA might just be my new office this summer.