This post is by a friend and guest writer Lydia Oyetunji who writes her own Live… Love… Share… blog, she is also a writer at Two Drops of Ink. Today tells us about the challenges of writing on the road. Enjoy…
When people think about a writer and the conditions in which they work, the following comes to mind. A comfortable office invaded by books, printers, with mind stimulating art and soothing jazz or classical music playing in the background. Then there the less formal writers who may pen great pieces from the comfort of their couch, whilst sitting in bed or from the passenger seat or sleeper berth of an 18 wheeler. I am a social media manager, writer and female trucker. We earn a good living as truck drivers, but writing is always my first love and passion.
When I tell people that I’m a truck driver’s wife and I write while on the road their response is how exciting it must be and I must always have something to write about. It is in fact fun and exciting, there are many great photos to be taken, awesome scenery for inspiration there are also challenges to writing on the road as well, you must become a chameleon and learn to easily adapt to your environment. Truck driving and writing are the perfect union, but not until death do us part!
If you are the type of writer that has to have a quiet space for your creative juices to flow, then my environment would send you into a literary drought. The roar of the engine, chatter of the CB. At a truck stop you have the sounds of trucks entering and leaving, air horns being blown for one reason or another. The loud hum of a refrigeration truck is enough to drive anyone insane. I found all of these distractions to be a great challenge in the beginning. Leaving me to write only during the ten hour breaks or thirty-four hour restarts if we chose not to run off of recap hours. This was not enough for me, I had to learn to tune out these distractions.
Have you ever been riding in a car, bus or train and attempted to jot something down? The movement can make it almost impossible! For me the task is amplified by ten, with the unexpected hitting of brakes from car drivers cutting off the truck, bump and bounce of the badly worn roads, constant sway of the tractor from the 40,000 pounds or more load you’re pulling. Writing under these conditions makes for bad penmanship. Try writing and revising a one-thousand-word blog post can be a daunting task if you’re unable to figure out what you wrote. Typing is a bit easier, but I like to take pen to paper then type out my final draft.
My hours are almost NEVER the same, NOR normal, one day we may start at 4 AM and ending at 4PM, the next day we are on the road by 1AM and taking our ten-hour break by 12PM. Most times we have recapped hours that enables us to continue to work and forfeit a thirty-four hour restart. Fatigue affects your ability to concentrate or think properly, there are times when I set out to write and it takes me longer than usual to express myself. Needless to say I have quite a few red markings throughout the pages in my journal. Many articles or blog posts have not made the cut or have had to be revised a few times before being deemed worthy of publication. A few cups of coffee and the wind in my face seems to help kick my creativity into gear in the early morning hours.
When the wheels are in motion at night writing is like skating uphill. Writing in the dark or by the light of dashboard lights is very frustrating. As we all know it is illegal to drive with a light on inside of any vehicle. I find myself powering up the computer for light or switching on a miniature flashlight. Most of my writing is done from daybreak to sun down and during breaks. A book light or a voice recorder would be a good investment to write during the darkness hours. I’m getting to the age where holding a thought until the next day is rocket science.
Internet access is a very important tool in my writing process. I must have a connection for research, a thesaurus, Evernote and of course to post on my blog. Depending on where I’m geographically located, be it up North on the border of Canada to the deep south of Louisiana. My Verizon Jetpack ensures me a strong connection the majority of the time! It is the best product for cost efficiency and service along the road. We do travel areas such as small towns and wooded back roads where no service is available. Times when there is no internet connection, brainstorming the next article or blog post is the best possible option to maximize my effectiveness.
Sometimes, I miss being curled up on my couch and indulging in the excitement of writing. There is nothing like the forever muse of writing on the road, even with all of its trials and tribulations. Our perfectly imperfect marriage creates beautiful works of art. So with patience and perseverance my writing from the inside of our 18 wheeler will continue. When you love something so much, nothing can keep you from it!