Writing in the woods

Remember, David, you’re only writing for yourself. Not even that, actually; you’re writing for no audience. This isn’t meant to be read by anyone. So, don’t worry about your word choice, or whether to call it “word choice” or “diction”. Just get words on paper and get going.

This is a snippet about writing in the woods. I haven’t solved it. I’ll start by explaining some of the problems that come up when you (I) set out to write in the woods. They aren’t “problems” so much as ideas for quality of life improvements, but again, the word choice isn’t important.

QOL Idea 1: A surface for the keyboard

When I find a nice place to sit – one that won’t leave my butt wet, overly dirty, or otherwise too uncomfortable – there is rarely a clear place for my keyboard. (“rarely” == “If there’s a picnic table, then there is, but otherwise there is not.") Most often the seat I find is a stone or a tree trunk, and the most natural places to put the keyboard are: (1) on my lap, or (2) to my side, on the trunk or stone.

These methods work. I can write. I enjoy it immensely. However, neither is ideal. One leaves the keyboard unsteady and thereby slows typing, the other cranes my neck. Perhaps bringing a board to place on my lap could solve the problem. I know lap desks are a thing; I don’t know if they pack well for hiking. I don’t need something the full size of a lap desk though; a simple 4” x 12" stiff piece of material would likely be sufficient to provide the keyboard some rigidity. The keyboard I use folds in half, and can buckle in the middle while I type if not on a surface that supports it. Alternatively to the stiff material, I could find a keyboard that doesn’t have this buckling issue. It would be larger than the current keyboard, but not larger than the keyboard plus stiff material. Perhaps something like this. It’s larger than my current foldable keyboard but shouldn’t have the buckling issue, and so may do well just placed in my lap.

Another advantage of my current keyboard is the case doubles as a stand for my phone, so I can see what I’m typing. I don’t strictly need to see what I’m typing as I type it, but occasionally it is useful and I wouldn’t want to give that up unless it really enhanced the convenience of the setup.

QOL Idea 2: More seat selection

As I’m wandering in the woods I sometimes go quite a while before finding a place that looks like a good seat. As I’ve become more familiar with Guilford’s Westwoods, I’ve noticed decent tree trunks and stones more often. Sometimes they’re covered in brush though. It would be nice to be able to find a seat somewhat quickly once I reach a nice part of the woods.

I could bring something with me to sit on. One crazy idea is those SkyMall leg-chairs – a pair of legs that you wear so you can sit down anywhere… I’m not going to do that; it looks uncomfortable and expensive. I’m thinking more along the lines of bringing a waterproof cushion or piece of fabric I can sit, or something to dry wet surfaces. Maybe I should just bring a trash bag to sit on. That would be easy to carry, I can sit on it to make any surface clean, and then after it even doubles as a trash bag.

Other QOL Ideas

  • How can I minimize bug nuisances? A: Bug spray…
  • Can I carry water while keeping my hands free? A: Yes, with a Camelbak.