08 February 2013

Adventures in the Outside World

A few days ago workmen descended on a neighbouring house, armed with noisy machines and a loud radio. They made it almost impossible for me to think, let alone work. Desperate measures were needed. No, not murder most foul, but a trip to the outside world.

I was editing at the time, a reader-experience type edit. I wanted to read as much of the manuscript as possible in a sitting, and hopefully not find anything to change! The impossible dream.

To be honest, doing this at home wasn’t working. Every time I found something I wanted to change, I’d jump across to the laptop and make the changes, and then find myself reading the manuscript on the laptop, or worse, opening a browser window to look at something else.

I put the latest copy on my Kindle, and took myself off to the beach. For a few hours I became one of those people sitting in a car at the beach, rather than walking or enjoying the scenery. It worked really well. It was a weekday morning, and reasonably quiet. The children have just gone back to school after the long summer holidays, so most of the people around were either walking dogs, or exercising. 

I was able to read in peace, mark up changes on my Kindle without getting side-tracked, and every now and again glance at the beautiful view before me. Then came the man in the van. The man in the van was listening to music, which actually wasn’t the problem, his out of time accompaniment on the van door was more annoying. The man in the man had a large dog, which may or may not have been fed that morning. Call me a coward if you want, I won’t disagree. 

I had been in the car for a couple of hours, and so I decided it was time to stretch my legs. I went for a walk along the beach, and found a quiet bench where I carried on with my reading and note-making. This happy state of affairs continued until I decided that benches aren’t that comfortable. It was now late morning and significantly hotter than when I’d arrived. Definitely time for some refreshment.
I’ve read many blog posts and articles about writers working in cafés, but until then I hadn’t felt the need to try it. Most cafés seem to be noisy, and as you can tell from this post, I prefer to work somewhere quiet. Yes, you can call me picky as well as a coward!

I spent a productive hour in the café – reading and note-making. When lunch hour loomed and it became busier, I returned to the car. The man in the van had departed, presumably to annoy someone else, so I finished my work there.

A complete read-through, notes, and time outside. What a great day.

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