On Writing || Writing, Trains & Let Me See Your Random Bits

One of the setbacks of not really talking about my own writing (I’m trying, I’m trying…. See?) is that I’m not really in the writing community. I’ve pushed my way into the reading community and I’m not budging but the writing? Not yet. Sure, I know a few people who are writing all sorts of books (non-published, self-published, traditional published)  and I occasionally pluck up the courage to put #amwriting on my tweets but I’m not part of any websites or anything like that and I know I’m probably missing out.

But I don’t feel like I’m just quite there yet.

Anywhoo…one of the low points about being on the writing community cusp, peering in from the outside, nose pressed against the window trying to make eye contact with someone, is that you don’t really know what’s normal and what’s… well, a bit weird.

The other day I was on the train and I was casually pretending not to listen in on the conversations of a Real Life Group of Young Adult Ladies (I’d say about 15/16) and I was pretending it was research. But it wasn’t, I’m just massively nosey and I will listen in on everyone’s conversation if I can get away with it. RESEARCH, GUYS.

These kids were being gloriously loud and cackling and shouting things like: “Ew, that looks like jizz!” (fyi: it was McDonalds’ mayonnaise, in case you were wondering) and the rest of the train passengers were looking at them as if they were about to start a riot of youthness.

It got me thinking of when I was that age when my friends and I used to get those looks off people. I live about an hour away from basically anywhere (my high school, my friends’ houses, civilisation) and every Saturday,  everysingleSaturday, my gang and I would meet “One o clock at Nobles*!” and we’d just walk around Manchester doing nothing for the whole day. But public transport was such a massive part of my life when I was a teen. God, if you added up all the hours I spent on a bus when I was in high school you would almost get the amount of time I spend watching Netflix now.

But when I was 11 and I used to give the bus driver my money it used to make me feel dead grown up. I didn’t need my dad to take me anywhere because I had a bus pass. Freedom of the city. I was a big deal. And then we’d go upstairs and we’d swarm the top deck and we’d be eating Greggs pasties and playing Fall Out Boy songs on our phone.

I don’t think we were very intimidating but still… we had a great time.

It’s funny how things change. Now if I have to get on I bus I don’t feel dead grown up handing over my money because then I have no money left in my purse because it costs about £5000 to get anywhere.

But while I was on this train, watching this brilliant group of girls interact with each other, I got this scene in my head that I’m desperate to write. I’m not sure who it’s going to be about but it’ll be about a group of At the Moment Anonymous Youths who get on a bus after coming back from somewhere, maybe in the morning after a crazy-parents-are-away-house-party, and they’re feeling a bit thoughtful. Maybe something dramatic happened at the party and it affected them all in a different way? Maybe nothing happened at the party and they wished it did? Each one will have their own story and reason for being on the bus and being at the party and each one will be thinking different things. It’ll kind of flit between all of them and paint a picture of… I don’t know what yet.

I don’t have the details yet. I’ve not worked them out. And, so far anyway, this scene doesn’t fit in any of my three(ish) ideas that are traipsing around my head at the moment.

So here’s the weird bit.

I have this word document in my writing folder that’s simply named “Random Scenes” and it’s basically a page full of scene ideas, bits of dialogue that have stuck in my head, character profiles an random links to articles I’ve read and liked. It’s a bank of all different ideas and every time I’m stuck when I’m writing, I’ll open that folder and I’ll have a skim through to see if anything jumps out at me.

I’ll be putting my bus idea in there today.

Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it sparks an idea to write something new and other times it makes me change my entire WIP just to fit it in. I’m pretty ruthless with myself when it comes to editing and changing my stories, by the way.

But either way, it gets me thinking.

Is that random? Is that weird?

I don’t know, but it works for me.


You read it here first, guys.

Do you guys have any weird writing habits that you think no one else does? Do you have a folder of random scenes that one day you’ll fit into your writing? Let me know so I don’t feel odd.

*It’s not even a Nobles anymore. It’s a Travelodge and a Morrisons.

For more On Writing posts – look here. 


5 thoughts on “On Writing || Writing, Trains & Let Me See Your Random Bits

  1. Ok, so it’s no a writing habit, because I’m just plain nosy, but I’m so glad I’m not the only one who listens to everyone else’s conversations when I’m out anywhere really…

    I love your idea – public transport is such a melting pot of people, places, ideas, cultures, experiences. I used to love sitting on the bus/train and thinking about where other people might be going, what they’d be doing.

    I’ve never actually written down any writing ideas, because well I just am not very good at writing fiction, but there are times which are still so vivid in my mind I think if I ever wrote a book I’d love to capture that feeling in words.

  2. I looooove this post. And to me you’re not strange at all. I always end up trying to listen in on public conversations – I can’t help it. A creative writing professor once told our class that a writer observes and listens to everything around them, and you’ll never know when an idea will strike. So eavesdrop away, I say.

    And ugh *heart clutch* your post brought back a flood of nostalgia. YES I think everyone will be able to relate to that feeling of freedom with public transport, the high of being able to conquer the city finally. And your idea for this scene, I love it, I can almost see it, and taste the bittersweetness of the night for that group. Yes, pls, definitely keep us posted on your writing and eventual book.

  3. I do this. Sometimes I actually get my phone out and type out quoteworthy bits of overheard dialogue so I can use it later. Sometimes so I can marvel again at how WTF some of it is.

  4. If this is weird, then I’m right there with ya because I have been doing this for as long as I remember – little flittering thoughts saved on Post-It notes and scrap pieces of paper, copying down quotes from novels & textbooks because they might spark something else, I have folders of images that I come across on Pinterest and Tumblr and even screenshots from news articles all in the name of research. Obsessive idea documentation I guess you could call it.

  5. Pingback: On Writing: #writeUKYA | weartheoldcoat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s