I’d like to talk for a few minutes about one way I have learned to incorporate writing into my daily commute to and from work. The truth is, a long commute can be a real drag, especially when it comes to finding extra time to write during the day. For me, commuting to and from work eats away about an hour and a half of my day, and that’s without any traffic to slow things down. Let’s put this time spent into a little perspective.
Let’s assume I am able to get in 5 days of work a week and I work 52 weeks in the year, leaving out time-off and holidays for simplicity’s sake. An hour and a half commute, 5 days a week, equals 7.5 hours of each week that I spend just sitting in my car. Multiply that by 52 weeks and that’s a whopping 390 hours a year or 16.25 full (24 hour) days a year spent just commuting. To make the amount of time spent going to and from work even more astonishing… 390 hours is also equivalent to 48.75 eight-hour work days. You heard me right. I spend up to 48 “work days” worth of time a year sitting in my car just going to and from my job.
That is a lot of time! Which is mostly filled with listening to music, the radio or sometimes just the roar of the engine as I drive. With so much time being devoured by my commute, no wonder its been so hard for me to get any writing time in. Then it hit me. Why not try to use this time more productively? Why not turn this obstacle into an opportunity by looking at the bright side of things? So that’s exactly what I did. I began by downloading the iTalk app onto an iPad I had received as a gift. It was all I had at the time, but it was enough to help me get in some solid writing time without actually having to write anything down.
This method allowed me to make a real dent in my book at a time when I found it especially difficult to continue writing. Each day during my commute, I was able to record anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes of talking, which I then transcribed at night and incorporated into my book. At first, it was sort of difficult recording things. I wasn’t used to talking to myself out loud like that, and it was totally weird and almost a little embarrassing to hear my voice played back as I transcribed my recordings because I wasn’t used to hearing what my voice sounded like from outside my head.
It took some time, but I eventually got the hang of recording snippets of my book during my commute. I also noticed that saying things out loud is a really great way of helping to keep the ideas flowing. I use this method to record everything and anything from ideas to dialogue to descriptive scenes. I don’t continuously record throughout my entire commute. That would make transcribing extremely time consuming and a bit nightmarish. What I do instead, is tap the record button, say whatever comes to mind and tap it again to pause the recording until I’m ready to speak again. The end result is a condensed and very rough recording that adds depth and content to my novel which melds well with developing the rough draft of my book. Polishing gets done later.
My iPad, which now has a cracked screen thanks to my wonderful children, has been retired from writing, but I upgraded my no-frills cell phone to an iPhone so I can continue recording with convenience and ease. The phone’s portable size makes the record button super easy to tap without looking at the screen as I drive. Which is really important because above all else, I don’t want my driving safety to be compromised while recording.
Is an iPad or a smart phone necessary to record things during a commute? Absolutely not! Any recording device will do and if you like apps, find one that works for you. I personally like the iTalk app because the record butting is very large making it easy to tap without having to look at the screen to compromise safety. If you like my idea and want to try incorporating it into you own commute be sure to follow the laws where you live and remember, safety first!