This past weekend, my boyfriend and I headed south, to Springfield, Illinois, to visit his family and celebrate St. Patrick's Day. This was my third year celebrating the Irish holiday with his family in central Illinois, and the celebration, with a two-plus hour parade and more than enough cheap beer, was much like past years.
But the actual trip itself was different: it was the first time I took the train. I was all about not driving the three-plus hours it would take, thinking that I could spend my time napping, reading, and even getting some writing done. In some ways, I was able to do all of the above, especially the first two. Writing, on the other hand, became an unsteady task.
Never mind the fact that the seats quickly became uncomfortable, since they hardly had any padding in them. Ignoring the fact that the train itself was loud, with the conductor blaring the horn every couple seconds. It was the unsteadiness of the train - the constant rocking back and forth and jolting every which way - that made writing difficult. (It probably would have made napping difficult, too, had I not been so tired).
I wrote a bit in my writing journal, jotting down ideas to work on later. I continued editing a friend's manuscript. I worked on some character sketches. But all of my writing turned into a scrawl as the train unpredictably rolled in every possible direction. When I attempted to steady my hand, it took me three times as long to jot anything down, forcing me to hold onto my ideas for as long as possible, hoping the words wouldn't slip away too quickly. It was an exercise in writing patience, if nothing else.
Despite my complaints about the train, I did enjoy the trip via the Amtrak. I liked being able to look out the windows and enjoy the view, rather than focus on driving down the highway. I liked being able to relax, too, and spend some time with the boy. And, even the writing "experience" was worthwhile. I got my daily writing in, despite being jostled, and I learned, yet again, that writing in new places can be invigorating, despite the difficulties of physically putting pen to paper.
Has your style or mode of writing ever changed, from a simple change in where you decide to sit and write? How have you learned "writing patience"?