The nature of modern life is that it’s always moving. We’re constantly on our way somewhere or coming back from somewhere. Whether this is a good thing or not* remains to be seen, but it does mean one thing: we have to be flexible.
Sherry Ramsey, a friend of mine, keeps posting about writing from her ‘mobile office’, which near as I can tell is the driver’s seat of her van while she waits for one of her children to finish something. She works on edits, she makes notes on new stories, she reads submissions…that’s a lot of work she gets done.
That’s making good use of your time. It’s damn easy to take those dead times as just that: dead. Time to zone out in front of the waiting room television, or stare blankly into space.** Or, god forbid, read those disease covered magazines that expired in 1991. Isn’t there something else you could be doing?
I’m not an advocate of working every goddamn bleeding second. Everyone needs downtime. But that time in waiting rooms is not downtime, because chances are you’re not using it to do anything you actually want to do. Unless your doctor’s office is much more liberal than mine, and will allow you to bring a bottle of wine. In those in-between places, you’re just…on pause. Waiting. And probably bored.
So take your life off pause and reclaim those moments and hours. Pack a notebook***, find a corner, and make notes. Scribble down characters or ideas. Or pound out five hundred words of a story. Or, say a blog post. I’m writing this in the waiting room of my garage, waiting for the winter tires to be taken off Marcus, my car.**** Canada AM plays in the background, along with ringing phones and whatever Acadian Death Cough the man sitting across from me has. I could be watching the latest piece on….hm, seems to be the dangers of teen sexting. Pass. I’d rather work on this. I’m getting work done, so once I leave here, I’m that much closer to my daily goals. Which means more time at the end of the day for wine and reading. I’ll take that free time over manically grinning morning hosts any day.
Oh, god. Now
Skeletor Kelly Ripa is on. Time to break out the headphones and escape into my new short story.
*Or, you know, both.
**I’m a big fan of staring into space, but I rarely get the opportunity in waiting rooms. Something about me attracts elderly people who want to talk. No idea why senior citizens would choose to engage the bleach-blonde, tattooed woman wearing ripped up jeans and a superhero t-shirt in conversation, but it always happens.
***Or your favourite notebook, anyway. I’ve never met a writer who didn’t have at least two on the go. We’re a stationary obsessed clan.
****Only men think all cars are women.