How to Write on the Run

laptopTime. If only we had more. It’s a topic writers continually write about. How to find more time to write or how to write more in less time. The list goes on.

This is a personal battle for me. “So much to do, so little time” has become a cliché I live every day. How about you?

As my day job continues to demand more and more time, my personal writing goals are pushed deep into the evening hours when other things compete for the same time slot.

So how do you write more if you can’t possibly get up earlier or stay up later? Have you tried “writing on the run?” Writing on the run is simply writing while you are doing something else. Notebook or iPad in hand, you’re writing while you wait in the doctor’s office, while waiting for the baseball or soccer game to start, or while commuting on the train to or from work.

Earlier today I was rereading an article in Writer’s Digest about Jacob Appel, a young doctor I’ve mentioned here before. He is not only an accomplished physician but a perennial winner of the magazine’s Annual Writing Competition. And his work has won numerous awards and acclaim from multiple publications.

How does he manage to get so much writing done in addition to practicing medicine? Like most of us he sets priorities, establishes deadlines, and tries to do as much writing as possible when he is away from his computer.

“I do my best writing when I’m not actually putting words to paper,” he says in the Writer’s Digest article (Nov/Dec 2012, page 43.) “While I’m working in the hospital or jogging or even walking to meet a dinner date, I’m writing in my mind,” he says.

This is good advice for all of us. And I’m taking it. Yet, I’m taking it a step further by actually putting words to paper while I’m on the run. For example, I’m writing this blog while having my oil changed. I’m sitting in the waiting room piecing these thoughts together while I’m checking something else off my “to do” list. From here, I’ll swing by the dry cleaner, car wash and finally a stop at the grocery store. Before I get home, this blog will be largely written. I’ll type it in safer surroundings when I don’t have to risk a head-on collision.

How can “writing on the run” help your writing in addition to repurposing your time? For me, being on the move stimulates me and creates a momentum that gets the creative juices flowing. (It beats staring at a blank screen.) Second, changing writing environments, no matter how mundane, has always created inspiration and positive energy for me. And energy seems to stimulate my subconscious into participating in the writing process.

Naturally, writing on the run does not eliminate the subsequent editing process but it transforms “snatches of time” from futile to fruitful.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get in a grocery checkout line—and start another article.


Published in: on July 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I’m a runner (literally), and so much of what I write is done in my head on my long runs. When the run is complete, I immediately whip out the “notepad” app on my phone and jot down a few phrases or topics that went through my head during the run. I don’t always have time to immediately sit down and put it all into words the way I want to, but at least the notes help trigger my mind when I have a chance to write again.

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