Home > Writing and Poetry > Working With Words on the Road

Working With Words on the Road

One of the advantages of being on the road is that the writer never runs out of material. How could there be a lack when all a person has to do is turn her head and open her eyes. There are always people doing odd and not-so-odd things within view. There are always points of nature to note.

Ideas swarm the mind with each new sighting. Scenarios work schedulespresent themselves for consideration. The future blossoms before the writer’s wheels.

The major problem with being a writer traveling for any length of time is finding time to produce usable notes. Both article ideas and story scenario become increasingly difficult due to continual new input overshadowing the old.

Taking hand notes is impossible when the writer is the driver.  If she isn’t the driver, the passing scenery will draw attention away from any scribbling of notes. After all, she might miss something even better along the side of the road if she doesn’t keep her eyes on it.

Small, voice-activated tape recorders help to keep up with running commentary. Transcribing the tapes takes loads of time afterwards. The use of paper continues unless the writer can use her computer while plugged in. Batteries only last so long before notifying the user of impending disaster. There’s also the need to keep track of all those tiny cassettes.

Using the computer while rolling down the highway can be done. Ask anyone who uses a power converter plugged into the cigarette lighter. The writer ends up facing the original problem of missing what’s passing by while concentrating on the keyboard. iPads and other devices could probably work as easily as computer, but there’s that pesky travel issue of scenery.

The one thing that has helped me more than anything during this trip is having my sister and her memory beside me to help jog the memory. She always allows for another perspective to an experience. That helps broaden the scope of much of the writing.

There are so many angles to everything we see and experience. So many angles tempts the writer—me, in this case—to envision more possible work than can get done in a year. Plus, there are new sights between here and home to add to the mix.


One major problem faces this writer now that I’m only a day away from our home base. That is; how fast can I complete each proposed segment of envisioned work? I already have other projects on the back burners waiting for me to get them completed and out.

Unless I can come up with a great work schedule that promotes effective time use for several projects at once, I’m faced with chaos.

There it is—the dilemma. Make precise mental notes and sort their significance as quickly as possible while moving, or defer all attention to new impressions only along the way. Of course, once we get home, I can try to resurrect those mental notes and create that work schedule to wrestle the chaos into a semblance of order.

Since I’ve been blessed with today’s opportunity to work, I can at least make a stab at those impressions that have been cluttering my brain for the past two weeks. We’ve relearned the fact that there are always silver linings. That’s taken some pressure off and reduced lots of discomfort along the way, too.

While I work with those notes, take a break to consider whether you have any glitches in your work routine. Something is bound to surface.

Until my next update, a bientot,


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