Working on the go

The benefit of being a writer in these modern times is that you can virtually do your job anywhere there’s a place to sit

The benefit of being a writer in these modern times is that you can virtually do your job anywhere there’s a place to sit: in a car, on a plane, at a coffee shop, in bed, at the park, or even on the beach.

The conditions, though, aren’t always ideal.

Currently I’m writing my column right on deadline at a busy Starbucks. The air conditioning is on too high, the music is louder than normal and the young women next to me are talking about how much they despise girl drama at an extremely high decibel while the guy on the other side of me talks on his phone.

I would move, except there’s nowhere else to sit and I haven’t the time to relocate to another venue with an electrical outlet. Today’s just been one of those time-sucker days we’re all familiar with.

It started off this morning with one of my dogs chasing after something and getting lost in the woods behind our house. It took me almost an hour to find him.

Next was my son who unexpectedly needed me to pick him up from a sleepover 45 minutes away. And then my daughter reminded me that I promised to take her and her friends to the indoor playground, EnergyPlex in Kelowna.

Fine, I thought, I’m totally behind the eight ball, but I’ll write my column when I get there.

But wouldn’t you know it? After I dropped them off, I opened my computer bag and my power cord was missing.

Since my laptop was at less than 10% power I had three choices. I could go to the store and buy a new one for $100, I could spend at least an hour driving home and back to retrieve one of the three cords I already own, or I could try and borrow one.

Since the Apple store was close I stopped in there and asked if they’d rent or loan me one for a couple hours. No such luck.

I then went to my husband’s work but couldn’t find one compatible with my MacBook. I tried calling a few friends in the area and luckily Dave, the editor of the Westside Weekly newspaper at the Kelowna Daily Courier said the company had one I could use. Phew.

Now that I have my laptop plugged in and I can finally write, I’m not about to leave this loud, chilly place until I’m finished my column. I might have to stuff my ears with Kleenex to muffle the noisy gabfest that’s progressed to boyfriends and gall bladder removals so I can concentrate on what I’m typing, but that’s fine. I still feel lucky that I can do my job from almost anywhere.

Sure, I’d rather be sitting on a quiet area of the beach with my iPad like I’d planned – that amazing little tablet will hold it’s power all day – but along with the cord for my laptop, I forgot it at home.

Despite the minor delays, I realize how fortunate I am to have access to today’s technological tools that make my job so much easier.

Back when I was in school I’d have to write an essay out in long hand multiple times and then type it up on my grandmother’s typewriter with a bottle of liquid paper nearby. If I needed to do research I’d have to consult the encyclopaedias at the library, and my paperwork had to be physically handed in to the teachers.

Nowadays I can type my column on my laptop or iPad, easily edit as I go, quickly look stuff up on the Internet if needed, and then email my column to the newspaper editors that run it.

And, gloriously, I can do all that from wherever I am. Next time I’m doing it from the beach.

Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at LoriWelbourne.com