Portable Writing…On Your Phone

Despite being in my early (mid) thirties, I still love a video game. I doubt I’ll ever grow out of it. When I’ve come to a crossroad, such as having kids, or my wife not wanting to be in separate rooms during the precious few evening hours, I’ve just evolved. 

My main way of getting a gaming fix is from a handheld. As of writing this post, the Nintendo Switch is my jam. 

When I hit a similar issue with writing, I knew I had to adapt to that as well. 

In the end, it was the exact same solution. 

Portable gaming? Portable writing!

I started this post on my iPhone, for example. Using something like iCloud (which I have found better than OneDrive) syncing content between devices is easy – even for an Apple nerd like me who writes across a Mac, iPad and iPhone, sometimes in the same day.

When sitting at a desk or sofa aren’t available, I can always get a few words in.

As any article on writing will tell you, a daily habit is required. If you only have one space and limited time to write, that habit will elude you.

My advice is to harness those screens we all surround ourselves with. Write when you can, where you can and on whatever you can.

Let’s not sugar coat this – your standards won’t be as good. Personally, I took the positive from that. If you’ve ever read any writing tips from Hugh Howey he advocates ‘writing rough’ and I agree. The most important thing, especially the early days of a new work, is to get ideas onto the page.

Portable writing is the perfect way to do that.

I’ve gotten paragraphs out while my kid slept in my arms, I’ve worked on chapter order sitting on a train, I may even have jotted an idea or two down while on the loo…and you can too.

I wouldn’t recommend editing anything on your phone though. I see it as a champion device at the ideation stage. It is easier to carry than a notebook and you alway have it with you. Never miss a moment of inspiration again.

The proliferation of screens has completely democratised my writing process, and I hope it could do the same for you too.

The Best Burger in NYC

You’re in Manhattan, just after dark. There is a slight chill in the air, meaning the steam coming out of the grates in the floor is a pleasant surprise.

The fairy lights are lit on the trees, the city is bustling and you’re hungry.

You enter Le Parker Meridian hotel from the entrance on West 57th Street, a few blocks south of Central Park. There is a bar on your left as you head in, with a few tables intimately glowing red from the colour of the candle holders. You move through towards a marble clad hub with concierge on one side, reception desk on the other.

Between the two counters, a dark wooden floor leads to a wall. It look as though only hotel staff should be walking there, until you see the sign.

A neon sign, hanging as discreetly as a neon sign can, on the back wall. It is the shape of a burger.

As you follow the path, the hubbub of the hotel is slowly drowned out by Jimi Hendrix. You notice the air begins to crackle with the smell of cooked meat.

When you reach the end of the corridor, a small door opens into a joint with the most epic dive bar scene. The walls are cluttered with pictures and writing, the tables are all full, bearing scars from beer spills, drumming hands shuffling patrons. Why this jewel of American street food sits in such a grand hotel, you will never know.

The counter looms ahead of a queue, which persists no matter what time you go. The hard written sign above the cashier warns you to decide what you want before you get there. Or it’s back of the line.

‘Cheeseburger, medium rare, with the works,’ you say. Skip the fries, you think. If you’re still hungry, just order another burger. You didn’t even have time to consider a drink, but who needs one?

Now the wait. Because you know it’s being cooked fresh to order in front of you. You see the patty you think is yours and track it like its your card in a magic trick.

These magicians aren’t going to fool you. You’re not letting that thing out of your sight.

Finally, they call your order and hand you a brown paper bag which is heavier than you’d imagined. There are no free tables, but that doesn’t matter. This is a street burger, after all. Somehow, spilling out onto West 57th and taking your first bite out there seems more private.

When the moment arrives, it’s one you never forget. The condiments would overpower any normal burger, but the ground beef has enough to punch back. The balance of flavour is astounding, sweet and spicy dance across the ketchup and mustard, the crunch of the onions push against the soft bun and crumbling meat. The pickles snap on your teeth and the cheese folds over your tongue. It’s the best burger in New York. Hell, it’s the best burger in the world!

Now if only you’d had a drink and some fries to wash it down with.

I Don’t Want To Blog

I hope the title of my first blog doesn’t dampen your enthusiasm to read any further. I promise there is some content in here and an explanation for the title. 

It is true though, I don’t really want to blog. Not because I dislike the medium, quite the opposite. I really like reading blogs. I also like the idea of documenting and projecting my own opinions on things. What I don’t want to do is blog for the sake of it, just to build a platform for my other writing. Ultimately that is what this is – I am writing about my other writing. That’s what I want to do, my other writing. Not this. 

Whether you are reading this because you know me, recently heard of me, or just luck (good or bad), I’m an aspiring novelist. I say aspiring because I’ve only finished one piece of work. It’s a sci fi book called the last human. I’m starting to blog about myself and my process to help give an insight into how and why I write. Perhaps it will be helpful, either as an inspiration or a cautionary tale of how not to do things. Perhaps it’s personal therapy and no one will ever read it and eventually I’ll stop paying the bills on this website. 

I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s written now. Out of my brain and onto the page. This page.