I'm sitting in an airport and getting ready to take my third trip by air this month. This one is the long one -- by the time I finish the two legs, I'll be on the other side of the world.
Travelling that much and that far is mostly an endurance contest, but it's also a time of long hours without distraction. In other words, these long airplane trips are an excellent place to write with minimal disruption. In my case, I've done plenty of business writing on a plane, but sometimes also have the time for personal writing, particularly when I'm travelling at off hours such as on the weekend.
As regular readers of this blog know, I've written one novel and am more than halfway through the second one. I'd estimate that half or more of these words were originally composed on either a personal or business trip, with much of the writing done on airplane trips. My current approach is to write using a wirebound, hard copy notebook. The three subject binders targeted to college students work well.
You may be thinking -- oh, how primitive -- writing with pen and paper. Truth is, I've written a lot directly on the computer as well, and that works well, but it is less practical on long flights. Only a fraction of the seats in the economy section have power and in my experience, four hours is about the practical limit on battery power, unless you want to schlep around extra batteries (I don't). Worse than that, once the passenger in front of you leans their seat back, using a laptop is difficult or impossible.
Now there is a much better alternative which is conducive to writing on a laptop -- train travel -- but it's only available on woefully few routes in the US. I do love my trips on the relatively high speed Acela between Boston and New York or Newark, but I don't get to do that often.
So, even when the flight attendants have ordered you to shut down all electrical devices, I can keep writing until the airplane pulls up to the jetway. And the words turn into chapters, and eventually into completed books or stories.
If you're a writer, do you write on planes or trains? Do you ever write hard copy or is it all strictly on a computer device? Do you have a favorite computer or one of the newer mobile devices for doing such work?
If you're a reader, do you have a favorite activity for whiling away the long hours on a trip?