The Right Time to Write


I’m a writing stager.

Picture my Perfect Writing Environment (PWE): Sloppy Joe’s coffee mug on the right. Hemingway photo book and pencil set on the left. Zelda Fitzgerald books and gallery pamphlet on the right. Two Penguin erasers straight ahead. Various notes and research books scattered about. Bailey the dog curled up in my reading chair. My little one napping. Chopin piano mix playing on Pandora.

But notice that I said my “perfect” writing environment. More often than not, the photo books are missing because I was flipping through them while making lunch and forgot to put them back. The little guy who is supposed to be napping has stolen the Penguin erasers and is playing with them. The dog is barking at deer in the front yard.

When the perfect writing alchemy isn’t achieved, I can often be found clicking through photos on Facebook, catching up on Twitter, or wandering through the house, performing chores, grumbling to the Muse in my head about a dearth of coffee or a surplus of noise.

So imagine my surprise last week, when I found myself sitting at my oldest son’s hockey practice (well, that’s not a surprise, we’re at the rink five days a week) with my two younger sons occupied with other younger siblings, team parents in conversations with each other or their cell phones, and me, alone, staring at my middle son’s drawing pad and pencil. A scene idea started tugging on my sleeve, so I thought I’d jot down some notes that I could use later in the PWE.

In what seemed like moments later, my youngest son was tugging on my sleeve, telling me that the team was off the ice. I looked at the paper and realized I’d written a lengthy scene–several pages, front and back–of a pivotal moment in the book, right there on my child’s drawing pad.

I think you can see where I’m going.

I learned a valuable lesson that day: whether I’m in my PWE or an ice-cold, smelly hockey rink surrounded by noise and people, sometimes the right time to write is right now.

Right here and now.

I need that reminder every now and then, so I thought I’d remind you writers, too.

So go. Now. Write.

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8 thoughts on “The Right Time to Write

  1. Write on – anytime. anyplace, but always write

  2. Good for you! The main thing here is to always have something with you to write on/with, even if it’s your son’s drawing pad, and then the PWE can be just about anywhere, as you so nicely proved.

  3. Wonderful post, Erika! So happy for you that you had that experience. Thank you for sharing it, and the reminder. It’s easy to fall into being fussy about the trappings we surround ourselves with when we set down to write. But the truth is, it can (and should) happen anywhere.

  4. I love this, Erika. It’s so true! And as I approach more and more days at sports practices for my guys, I more and more tow along my writing bag, with writing notebook. Because we never know when those moments of inspiration will strike. Thank you!

  5. I’ve had this exact same experience — and it’s so helpful to be all prepared with pad and paper or electronic gadget to get the ideas jotted down. You sound like me: if the moment is right, time stands still, and I’m in the zone. Great post!

  6. Yay! You wrote with pen and paper! Love that you snatched the pad up and scribbled away. I seem to do better away from my desk when I am at practices, camps, car line, etc.

    Here’s to finding the muse at sports practices. *clink*

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