Can you write during a bus commute?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article about Vancouver lawyer and writer Kate Bond…

Can you write something meaningful on a city bus? For Vancouver-based lawyer and author Kate Bond (pictured above), the answer was yes. She wrote a screenplay during eight weeks of her daily 25-minute bus commute. And, in so doing, she  won the $25,000 Daryl Duke Prize for up-and-coming Canadian film and television writers.

The writer, who was smart enough to hold a full-time job  as a litigator at the federal Department of Justice, was beset by fears about her own writing ability. Even though she had previously written eight novels she had never showed them to anyone. In fact, she entered her screenplay in the contest, hoping it would help her eliminate this fear.

Here is how she described her decision to reporter Marsha Lederman in a story that appeared last week in the Globe and Mail newspaper:

I think it was this idea that it was a low-stakes way to send a piece of writing out into the world; that some stranger, some third party will read it and it will help kind of alleviate this great phobia I have of showing anything to anybody.

I found the story noteworthy for two reasons: First, that Kate Bond was able to conquer her fear. But, second, that she was able to do it during a 25-minute bus commute. Many people tell me that they simply don’t have the time to write. But here was a woman who held a demanding job, had a young child and managed to squeeze in her writing time while she was riding the bus.

Writing does not require buckets of spare time. It demands commitment, sticktoitiveness and, perhaps, a willingness to write in strange places. Oh, and an ability to conquer your fear.

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