Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing on the Run

Gone for me are back to back hours to write. These days I’m learning to write on the run. (I’m pursuing another degree.)
Agatha Christie got her start writing that way. During World War I she worked as a nurse and later at a dispensary. She spent every spare moment during her down time and in between patients writing.
I may be getting a degree, but I find that first and foremost, I’m a writer. There are too many stories in my head that I’ve got to get out, so I plot and write during boring lectures. While I’m waiting in lines or doctor’s offices, I pull out my notebook and begin to write where I left off during a dull class. When I’m in the car and Mr. Himself is driving, I pull out the notebook and take up where I left off while in the doctor’s waiting room.
I’ve found some advantages to these writing spurts:
  • When I rewrite it on the computer, I do an immediate rewrite.
  • It gives me a new perspective when I’m typing it out – I think of new things to add or delete.
  • My brain is able to slow down and think deeper when I’m writing long-hand on paper than when I’m typing a story. (Of course, the flip side to this is that I can’t write as fast as I can think.)
  • I’m becoming an expert cryptologist as I work to decipher my scrawl.
I do miss having long delicious hours to languish at the keyboard and write. But to be honest, writing for long blocks of time can sometimes be frustrating. Writing in small spurts is really fun. I never have writer’s block. And when I have to stop, my brain is more free to ponder what I’ll write the next time I get to pull out the notebook.
What about you? How do you write on the run?
Karla Akins is a pastor's wife, mother of five, and grandma to five beautiful little girls. She lives in North Manchester with her husband, twin teenage boys with autism, and three crazy dogs. Her favorite color is purple, favorite hobby is shoes, and favorite food group is cupcakes.


  1. Loved your post.

    I do write on the run sometimes.

    I wrote one of my best scenes in a notebook, in a waiting room up at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago. I'll never forget it.

  2. Thanks, Loree! I love it when good scenes happen in unusual places! :-)

  3. Great post, Karla!

    That's exactly how I got my start--writing in the car while waiting for kids to arrive at the bus stop, or in the doctor's office, or while sitting under the hair dryer at the beauty shop!

    I still make notes that way and some planning (although I'm definitely NOT a plotter.)


  4. I worked for a couple agents who think that the best writers have other things going for them, making them write in "bursts" of time! They also think that your most productive writing is when you have a day job or are involved in other things--like getting a degree.

    What degree/major are you going for? How interesting! I pray everything goes well for you--you're amazing!

  5. I sense a theme. I've read some blogs written after this one, but Darren's and Crystal's also seem to be having the same direction. And maybe I need to listen and spend more time writing.


  6. Hi, Crystal! Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I am encouraged by your post! I do hope that's true regarding "the best writers are busy ones." I am pursuing a degree in Special Education. I already have degrees in Christian Education and theology. I want to be certified in Indiana. :-) Thanks for your comments and thanks for asking!