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Challenges of Writing on the Road

April 13, 2020 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group, Writing tagged as , ,

I’ve been writing for a lot of years. It started somewhere in my corporate career when the girls were little, with short stories I’d read to them for birthdays and holidays. First book I’d written began as a story to celebrate my oldest daughter’s 12th birthday. That’s when the muse came a calling, and next I know, the story was over 300 words. It had all the faux pas of a newbie, repeating words, passive voice, minimal sensory and bad spelling (didn’t have spellcheck in those days). I had it bound as a hard copy, gold lettering for the title – cost me a fortune back then, but it was worth it. She liked it so much; I wrote a sequel of similar length. It is still one of my daughter’s most precious possessions.

The muse took up residence, and it wasn’t to be denied. With a job that had me boarding planes weekly, how was I supposed to satisfy the writing urge? Weekends were out. That was family time—and chores—and honey-dos—and kid’s events . . . I learned to access time slots while a prisoner of an airplane (seats were bigger then) and forgo watching hotel television at night (there wasn’t anything worth watching anyway). Can’t write on a plane anymore unless in first class. Coach seating is a sardine tin where we’re all a little heavier, the tray table might fit a drink glass with a deck of cards, and the seat in front of me is maybe ten inches from my nose.

At home, I’ve got the writing cave and silence, where the muse happily homesteads, ready to fill my thoughts with new directional themes. When I’m traveling, almost always with my wife/kids/grandkids/siblings, it’s a non-stop cornucopia of distractive activity, surrounded by the din of fellow humans. The muse had become accustomed to the safe zone of my writing cave and doesn’t appreciate the competition for my attention. No sooner do I sit down at the laptop, somebody calls my name.

Why don’t I write at night like I used to, when things quiet down? Unlike many writers who thrive on burning the midnight oil, I have become a morning writer. The muse is fresh, unfettered by the noise of life. Skipping the cocktail hour might help, but it’s the only time my wife and I convene to compare notes of the day, eat dinner, then wait for the daily Facetime call from kids who are on western time (grandboys are rather insistent I take part). When traveling, I’m expected to be participative, and young folk participate after work. By the time it all ends, the muse “has left the building”.

So, what’s a morning writer to do? For short trips, I might do some editing, or compose a few notes of the current project, which is kind of aggravating for the muse and I. We’re both hardcore pantsers. Plotting gives us hives. On the long winter forays where we’re domiciled near the kids out west, I go in search of a quiet haven. Local library is a good start, but it’s best to know when toddler reading hour is scheduled. Last time I went, a little nose-miner saddled up to me while I was typing, begging to crawl in my lap. It’s enough to instill fear in today’s times. We rent a condo when visiting mother down south. Most have nice gathering areas that nobody uses in the morning. Again, awareness of scheduling is important. The local women’s club du jour might show up, ask a lot of embarrassing questions, then seduce me to join them. Last year’s rental had a front-row seat at the ladies seventh-hole tee box. All day long, whack—thump—followed by ample cussing. And to think many of them were grandmothers.

I may go days, or weeks, writing nothing meaningful. I grab whatever opportunity arises. When I return to the word processor, the muse is waiting with a head shake and impatient foot-tapping, but ready to rock. Booting up after a long absence, the magic is even more special. I guess the saying: “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, works for us writers as well.

DT Krippene is a contributing author in the recent BWG’s paranormal anthology, Untethered (available below).  A man buys a house for a price that is too good to be true, until he discovers the bizarre strings attached in “Hell of a Deal”. He’s also contributed articles for the Bethlehem Round Table Magazine with “Snowbelt Sanctuary”, and “In Simple Terms”.

A native of Wisconsin and Connecticut, DT Krippene deserted aspirations of being a biologist to live the corporate dream and raise a family.  After six homes, a ten-year stint in Asia, and an imagination that never slept, his annoying muse refuses to be hobbled as a mere dream.  Dan writes dystopia, paranormal, and science fiction. His current project is about a young man struggling to understand why he was born in a time when humans are unable to procreate and knocking on extinction’s door.

You can find DT on his website, and his social media links.


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