Truck Driving and Writing: A Perfectly Imperfect Union

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…

 

Lydia OyetunjiWhen 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!

CB Radio by Robert Chlopas CC0 Public Domain by PixabayIf 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.

Driving in the wet CC0 Public Domain by PixabayWhen 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!

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5 Comments

  1. I am not sure there is any such thing as the perfect writing envir­on­ment, being in an office you may avoid distrac­tions, but you avoid life. Lydia shows how her life on the road can also become a place where writing is possible, despite all the distrac­tions, or perhaps in spite of them.

  2. Thanks Peter for allow­ing me to share my writing exper­i­ences on your blog. It was a pleas­ure writing this guest post for you.

    • No problem, I enjoyed this article immensely it shows some of the challenges we all face.

  3. I had no idea, Lydia. I grew up making runs with my step-father. I spent many weeks truck­ing. I know exactly the envir­on­ment you write about. How wonder­ful that you make this work for you. I’m even more impressed and inspired.” You go girl.”

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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