Write Tips

Can you Write while Commuting?

Ever wanted to write while commuting and create a fabulously awesome blog or novel, plus plan to finish and publish it before you leave your day job? Sure, it sounds a brilliant plan at first. You think about all that time you spend commuting each day, so why not write while you are on the train, or edit while you are on the bus? Plus all that money from your first book will make it possible for you to leave your day job – wont’ it?

Write while Commuting

I currently have a day job and travel 1 hour (door-to-door) with 45 min of that on a train.  So essentially I was planning to write while commuting for at least 1.5hours every day.  Then there are those hours after my little man goes to bed at 7:30pm on the dot every night.  Wow, I could get in another 4 hours of writing time.  I’ll have this book finished in no time flat.


The reality is that travelling on the train and writing only works if you are on a non-busy train.  Most of us travel at peak times and the train/bus/ferry etc are pretty packed with squish room only. You then have the option of IF you get a seat:

  • Do you have elbow room to write?
  • Do you have room to edit?
  • Do you mind everyone around you (not looking at their own devices) that could be looking at your writing?

I have found that editing is way easier to do on a busy commute than trying to write while commuting. I write in Scrivener and edit on my iPad, but not in Scrivener when I’m commuting. While they do have a great iPad app, and I do use this when I have space to use my elbows and the keypad, otherwise it’s not the most comfortable or speediest use of time.

My solution

I like to export my Scrivener project into a pdf document and then import into my Noteshelf app on the iPad. I can read my work and edit with my apple pencil very easily and quickly. There are other apps that work well with this scenario, but after trying quite a few my preference is still Noteshelf.

When I have my writing session that night, after my little man and our 2 puppies eventually succumb to sleep, I’ll update my Scrivener Project with my edits and continue writing.  Of course my son goes to bed exactly on time every night and I’m never, ever tired from a long day in the day job — so there are always thousands and thousands of quality words churned out every night. I’m sure you can relate and do the same….

Back in the REAL world — I write when I can and when I’m not too tired. I don’t see the point of writing crap just for the sake of writing. I could be spending that time resting and then write fresher with more quality (and less re-work) another time.

Every writer needs some thinking time. Another way to spend your commute is with ‘thinking’ time for your project. You can take some notes to give you that writing prompt at your next writing session.

It’s all about finding a use for the commute time that best suits your style and this works for me?

How about you? What are your tips and tricks for writing/editing on your commute?

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