Friday, 13 December 2013

Train of thought

I'm sitting on the train as I write this. Oh, yeah...I've turned into one of those nerds that works on a computer on the train.

I used to tease Stuart about working on the train. As far as I was concerned trains were for reading books, not writing books, much less writing a blog!

Technology is a wonderful thing though isn't it, when it's used for the power of good, not evil. Anyway, I digress.

I am now one of those types, you know, the type who sits on the train working on a computer. The reason, for me, is that I'm very time poor these days. I'm working as a technical writer for a large multi-national, while finalising the details of Inviolate - the sequel to Torn. I also have an obligation to get a number of financial articles off to my publishers before Christmas and I'm rapidly running out of time.

It's interesting that it's only in the last year or so that I've been doing this - the writing on the train thing. Do you think we're all becoming busier?

One of the other reasons I've begun bringing my computer onto the train is because nearly every time I commute, I'm inspired by something. A short story will come to me, or another book. I have so many books, characters and events jostling over one another in my head, eager to be expanded, written and released that it really does become stressful if I have to wait until I get home in the evening.

I think it may be that an hour to sit, read, meditate or whatever, is so rare for me that I find inspiration just flows. Sometimes if I'm reading, I find I put my book down and let my imagination fly. Torn was written mostly in my head before I ever began typing anything.

The brain is an incredibly, free-flowing thing. It chugs along on its own accord and can transport you to another time or another world. I commute an hour each morning and again each evening. That's two hours each working day that I have to explore the dusty recesses of my mind.

I have always lived a long way out of town and consequently, have spent those commuting hours in some interesting ways.

When I was young and poorer than I am today, I worked two jobs so I had even less time to myself. I studied on the train each day for two years and achieved a Diploma with the Australian Insurance Institute.

These days I often complete assigned homework from the Applied Languages course I'm doing.

Over the years I've done a lot of this kind of thing, but I never thought train travel would inspire me to change my career path. It did though.

I think I mentioned once in a previous post that my very first short story won first prize in a literary competition. That story was called A Book by Any Other Cover and is an observation of fellow train commuters.

It was after writing that story and winning the award that I thought, hey, maybe I'm not bad at this! 

Of course, I didn't get up the next morning and chuck in the day job - becoming a full time writer was a long process. It took years before I was in the right position to be able to give voice to those characters in my head. And it was a time that was fraught with frustration because I knew deep down that I would never be happy unless I could write.

Being now, in the fortunate position I am - I'm a full time writer - I can write and write and write and I'm never stuck for inspiration.

Some days on the train I like to whip out my trusty Kindle and read a book. Other days I'll pull the tatty paperback from my bag - yep, I usually have more than one book on the go at a time. Then there are the days I drag out my laptop and start typing.

I've decided that it doesn't matter where or when I'm inspired, I will write and I will not be shy about it. I'm an out and proud nerd!

Hey, if you're interested in reading my very first short story, A Book by any Other Cover, click here, where you can read it online for free.  It's also featured in my compilation of short stories called All That & Everything.

And remember, it doesn't matter from where your inspiration springs - even the everyday commute can change your life.

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