Posted in Personal life, Writing

Writing On The Run

somerset monument, hawkesbury upton, glouceste...
Image by Synwell via Flickr

Sending a text on my mobile as I jogged past Hawkesbury Monument the other day, it occurred to me that I was only a stone’s throw from writing my blog on the run. So many of my friends update their Facebook status from iPhones and Blackberries that I’d been thinking about investing in a smart phone myself, so that I could post to my online blog while away on holiday.

It’s not the first time I’ve hankered after equipment to help me write while travelling. Years ago, long before the rise of the internet or the miniatiurisation of the mobile phone, there was a clever little gadget on the market. A bit like a miniature version of the shorthand machines used by courtroom stenographers, it was like a tiny typewriter but with just four keys, one for each finger of one hand. You tapped the keys in a different combination for each letter of the alphabet. Even in a shaky commuter train, you’d be able to write legibly, because when you got home, the machine would spool out what you’d typed in normal letters. One of these devices would have made my daily commute across London suburbia more productive, but my salary as a lowly editorial assistant wouldn’t stretch to one.

Another reason I wanted it is that I’d never learned shorthand. Several times in my teens I had bought teach-yourself books, but even with daily practice, I knew that it would take a long time to master. With the short-termism of the typical teenager, I couldn’t make the commitment. Every year or two after, I would think to myself “If only I’d stuck at it, my shorthand would be fluent by now”.

So if I do write my column on the run, I’ll have to use an even more old-fashioned device to record it – my brain. I just wish my head had a USB port so that I could back it up with a memory stick.

(This article originally appeared in the Hawkesbury Parish Magazine, May 2011.)


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

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