Saturday, September 13, 2014

Always Be Writing

Scott D. Parker

Back in the day, when mass market paperbacks were first invented, I imagine there were a lot of people who suddenly realized “Wow, I can take the book I’m reading and stick it in my back pocket and carry it around with me.” The portability of a paperback meant that avid readers could always read, in line at the grocery store, the post office, wherever. Same for the boys who fought in World War II. Paperbacks were light and took up relatively little space. It was a good thing.

Fast forward to today’s smartphone and iPods and tablets. For avid readers, being able to carry a literal library of reading material is one of the best things for readers who don’t mind reading on a screen. Now, with all the apps like Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc., we readers never are without a book. Moreover, for those of us with ereaders at home, our progress is synced along the way. Throw in audiobooks and this is truly a golden age for readers.

I’ve been both kinds of person in my lifetime. I used to carry paperbacks in my pocket, I used to read on my Palm Pilot (!), and now I enjoy having my iPod Touch G5 with me all the time. It’s remarkable and nothing new.

What is new is on the writer’s side of things. If you’ve read some recent posts, you’ll know that I have a day job and on five-minute breaks at said job, I pull out my iPod and write a few paragraphs of my story. In fact, I tweeted this week a milestone in that type of writing:

997. The number of words I wrote today on my iPod Touch in seven 5-min. breaks at the day job. Yes, it can be done. #AlwaysBeWriting

I used the hashtag “AlwaysBeWriting.” I’m not a huge hash tagger and others have already used that tag and my subconscious just reminded me. Don’t care. But it made me think of my recent activities as I’m walking around this earth with this little computer in my pocket and I realized something remarkable: I was pulling the iPod out not to read something but to advance my current book.

Was I really? What did I do at Kroger last weekend? Hmm, I wrote a few sentences. What did I do last month when I took the boy to the dentist? Wrote. Standing around the kitchen waiting for the beef to be browned and the water to boil? Wrote. During a commercial break while watching “Face/Off” or “Project Runway?” Discuss which artist was the best and whom to send home. Gotcha, but you see my point.

For me, having this little device has enabled me to always have my active *first draft* manuscript with me. If I have two or five or ten minutes free during the day, I can choose to write and I often do.

Every little sentence gets you closer to The End, even if those sentences are written while waiting in line somewhere you’d never think you could write. That’s what I meant by the hashtag #AlwaysBeWriting.

Am I alone in this new realization? Are y’all always writing?

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