Posted by: Corri van de Stege | July 16, 2008

Write on Wednesday – quick post from hotelroom


Becca in her indomitable way continues with her delving into aspects of writing and today she raises the question about the actual writing itself:

So, how about you?  How does writing fit into your daily life?  What’s your ideal time to write, and why? Do you “write on schedule” or “when the spirit moves you”?

Here I am sitting on the train to London, on my way to a meeting, an evening meal with the team, an overnight stay and another full day’s meeting tomorrow after which I will find myself on the return journey back home.  My first reaction to the question is:

HELP – where am I going to find regularity?  I know I should be doing routine, that a writing discipline is what we all need, definitely what I need.  But where am I going to get it, or rather, how am I going to implement that?  I try and write something every day, somewhere, somehow, even if it is only this blog in the middle of a train compartment filled with teenagers and huge backpacks on their way off somewhere, probably abroad by the looks of it, laughing, joking, eating; and now the girls have started reading books they’ve pulled out of their packs (who says people don’t read?  They always do on these trains) and the guys are playing cards or just minding their own business.  Other travellers have joined in Cambridge, a girl with a headphone and an iPod, a huge yellow bag and a rucksack she holds on her lap, as if it might walk off otherwise.  A man with his son, Japanese, also with travel gear.  Even I have my overnight bag as well as my computer bag. 


So here I am writing, on my laptop which I have pulled out of my bag and have perched on my lap, while the rattle of the train drowns the individual conversations that are being carried on, here and there.  We’re just passing a field full of glorious bright red poppies and after that it is back to the yellow green flat landscape interspersed with banks full of dark green shrubs and trees that block all outlook. 


So, here I am writing – unplanned, on the spur of the moment while in fact I was going to look at a work report, but then all of a sudden Becca’s question about writing seemed in need of an answer.


I would love a regular writing  routine, I am best at writing in the morning, first thing, and this is often what I do on a Saturday or a Sunday when I wake up with something in my head that needs to be translated into real words and sentences and often it does.  But that luxury is a weekend one, for the rest of the week I have a full time job, often away on meetings with clients, or interviews, and if not away, tucked behind my work desk writing reports, carrying out more desk research and so the week is gone before I have had much time thinking about my stories or my novel.  In between, I force the routine by writing a post for the blog, or by making notes in my notebook and so, somehow or other I do manage to write something every day.   Sometimes the easiest way out is simply writing a book review, because I have lost all ability of being creative and writing a review is almost like writing a report, the content is there for you, after you have done the research or the reading, it’s simply a matter of analysis, of good report writing.


And to be able to write well you of course need to read lots which I also do at all times, whenever I have the opportunity or when I am inclined. 


I yearn for my two weeks’ holiday on Crete when I managed to have my writing routine, writing in the morning, thinking and reading in the afternoon, interspersed with swimming, lazing around or simply snoozing.  That is my ideal writer’s routine, but I cannot have it, not for a while yet.  So I just bumble along and try to make the most of it!  Write when I can, read when I can and keep down a full-time job with lots of travelling and irregular hours.   How about you?


Even if I thought yesterday I’d not have any opportunity or time whatsoever to write a post, I’ve done it again – thanks Becca! 





  1. It sounds like we have similar challenges. I had a break some months back that allowed me to write daily and for long stretches and I constantly yearn for that week. Last week I was able to spend an entire week with writers and I got to do a lot of freewrites and creative work — but I wasn’t able to spent long stretches on my work in progress. Most of the time, my writing is confined to the weekends. I don’t have enough time to get into the proper head space during the work week and shifting from the work mindset into anything else is nearly impossible. Sometimes it happens. I think I also use blog posts to scratch the itch to some extent, but I’m thinking about flash fiction quite a bit these days. Free writes are so much fun and the quick burst of creativity often nets something very close to a usable piece of short fiction. I suppose I have come to accept that as much as I would love to have a daily writing schedule, I doubt it will ever happen until I’m no longer working the job I have. But that’s ok. I’ll take what I can get when I can get it. As long as my fingers are moving, I’m happy.

  2. I so relate to the hit and miss of writing and the desire for a routine. Routine, when I have it, makes me happier in my day because of my morning routine. When I forego it, I feel so frustrated and I steal time whenever I can, no matter what I’m doing. On the best days, I can tuck in at my favorite coffee house and spend hours there, unhurried by no one and unterrupted. For me, retirement can’t come too soon and then I will have all the time in the world.

  3. Our lives are so similar, in that we spend so much time writing for our work (I can’t help but smile at your mention of writing book reviews as being “like another report” for I feel the same way) while craving to be writing for ourselves.

    Sometimes I wonder if I would have the discipline to “write on schedule” even if I had the opportunity. Your time in Crete must have been gratifying, for you had the chance to “try out” the writing life, the kind we all dream of, and see that it suited you quite nicely!

    As always, I so enjoyed reading your thoughts 🙂

  4. lisa kenny: it’s definitely about the ‘head space’ when you’re working. I am back, here in my room, after my two days away but I could not for the world of me write a sensible paragraph, let alone 500 words of fiction that would add to my writing…. I am thinking… work… I need to shake it off but by the time I’ve done that it is tomorrow morning and there will be more things to do and write, workwise!
    annie elf: retirement, yes, at the same time I do sometimes wonder whether I would retain that same sharpness and keenness that I have when I manage to grab some writing time within a busy schedule?
    Becca: you are an inspiration to all of us! Yes, see my previous comment also: I also wonder if I would have the same discipline that I imagine I could have if only…. Work and all the other busynessess feed the brain as well as preventing you from writing. Oh what a conundrum!

  5. For the majority of us it is “write when I can, read when I can.” We are a strange breed, I think. Why do we torture ourselves? Having to work and deal with all of the other realities of life – with that constant yearning to be able to write and write and write, always there. At least we are a club!

  6. qugrainne: that’s a nice way of looking at it and makes me feel less of an outsider in my daily life! It really is torture at times, but in the end always enjoyable and knowing that others struggle in the same way does help…. strangely enough.

  7. Your train rain sounds like bliss. I love trains. We’re still not very good at them here, certainly not in the Midwest (Missouri). The car’s the thing. drat. But the atmosphere/travelers you describe is/are so…wonderful.

  8. oh: so do I – wish I could take trains wherever I go but most of the time it’s a bit like your Midwest: too much hassle, too many changes and bad connections when you have to go cross country. They are such wonderful places to observe the world from though (and listen in to other people’s conversations, making up stories around them..)

  9. I felt like I was on that train. You may not have much time to write but when you do it’s substantial. Crete? Lucky lady!

    Happy writing!

  10. Tammy:mmm yes, Crete, such a long time ago now…..a distant memory already….

  11. Gollleeeeeeeeeee there a whole lot of writing going on here … why are you so tough on yourself ??? You’re fabulous at writing about not writing – love your post 😉

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