Currently, I am miles above the sky in the air. And I’m a writing machine.
I do my best work on airplanes. Perhaps it is the lack of distractions. Perhaps it is the effect of alcohol and dehydration. Perhaps it is the inspiration of going somewhere besides my kitchen. Perhaps it is the egocentric belief that the person in the seat next to me is spying on my manuscript, so I better make it darn good.
In fact, the first piece I ever published was written in flight. On the way home from a ski trip in 2002, I scribbled an article about my father’s love of skiing in the corners of a Sky Mall magazine. When I got home, I typed it up, and submitted it to SKI. Ten days later, I received an email from the editor telling me that he would pay me $500 for the piece. It was beginner’s luck, and it was awesome.
Since that time, I’ve always made the most of my air-borne captivity by writing. The hum of the jet engine blocks out the loudness of other projects, and allows me to focus on a singular page. I’ve written whole chapters on single flights, accomplishing in hours what sometimes takes me days. And when I land, there’s an excitement of accomplishment which sustains me for the following jet-lagged week when I can’t even write my name on checks, never mind write a column.
Right now, I am on a seven hour daytime flight from London to Boston. The folks around me are watching movies or working on excel spreadsheets. There’s nothing on air that I want to watch. (I’ve seen The Imitation Game thrice already. Great movie, but there is nothing I could watch four times.) I could care less about excel spreadsheets. And I can’t sleep considering I don’t want to miss the beverage cart. (A transatlantic flight means a free cocktail! Bring on the cranberry and vodka!)
My battery on this computer will wear out before landing. So, I’m up against the clock, making most of the minutes to finger dance on the keyboard. Hopefully I write something brilliant, something save-worthy, something publishable.
But if all else fails, at least my writing will pass the time.