FOUND: Time to Write

18 Aug

Commuting by bicycle is something I’d envisioned myself doing for a long time. It’s good exercise. It’s good for the environment. I thought about it a lot. Now that I have a significant other, there’s a witness to my sloth, so I’m more motivated to actually do it.

The best part is that I don’t have to go to the gym! I hate the gym. It’s boring, and it eats up too much time. An hour workout, with travel time, requires eighty minutes of an already busy day.

Here is where I found the time: Driving to work requires a forty-minute round trip or I can ride my bike for sixty. Since the forty-minute commute is a sunk cost (I have to do it regardless), I’m really only out twenty minutes more by biking. So, I get a sixty-minute workout for only twenty minutes. Since the gym required eighty, I have an extra hour in my day to write.

There have been unexpected benefits too. As I’m pedaling, I think about my stories. I work out any problems I’m having with my manuscripts. By the time I get home, any issues are resolved, and I can jump right in and start writing. More saved time!

I also notice my surroundings more, things I might want to write about. When I drive, I take the same couple routes, stop at the same traffic lights, look at the same buildings, stare at the same bumper stickers. When I ride my bike, I cut through different neighborhoods in an effort to avoid gas fumes. I see more. I notice the flowers and trees in their respective life cycles, the dried lawns that are a sign of economic times, and the Xeriscaping as people move toward conservation.

I notice people. An old woman in the distance, pushing a shopping cart full of possessions inside white garbage bags. Her hair is gray and pulled back. With each laborious step, she heaves herself forward to what, I wonder. Upon noticing her, I thought about her for days and then, last week, our paths crossed, and I looked directly into a face that was no older than my own.

Traveling the Greenbelt I pass other cyclists, walkers, and runners, catching snippets of their conversations – things I might use in my manuscript. Snippets are always more interesting, because you get to fill in the blanks. I came over Friendship Bridge last month and onto the BSU campus. Amongst the trees that line the river, looking back at me, was a deer.

These are all things I wouldn’t see from my car, things I might incorporate into my writing. So, as the days grow shorter and the mornings darker, I’ll continue to ride. If you live in East Boise and happen to notice tiny red and white lights flashing through the darkness on your way to work, that’ll be me. I’ll be thinking about all the things I’m going to write that evening while all of you are at the gym.


Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Boise, time management, writing


Tags: , ,

28 responses to “FOUND: Time to Write

  1. johannaharness

    August 18, 2011 at 5:46 AM

    Great detail, Carley. I love your reasoning too. Good for you!

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 4:50 PM

      Thanks, Johanna.

  2. Christy Hayes

    August 18, 2011 at 6:20 AM

    You are lucky to live in Idaho and also lucky to be able to ride your bike to and from work. I’ve always wanted to do that (although I work at home) and you are right about it clearing your head. Exercise does that for me and the fresh air helps too. Enjoy your rides!

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      Thanks, Christy. You’re right. Idaho is a great place for biking, and I live and work in a great part of Boise, allowing me to ride the Greenbelt along the river most of the way.

  3. Janis McCurry

    August 18, 2011 at 7:09 AM

    Congratulations on working on fitness and time management!

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      Thanks, Janis.

  4. Peggy Staggs

    August 18, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    ‘Sunk cost’–I love accountant speak. It’s all numerical and foreign. The belt in the morning is great. Lots of interesting people and you can always tell who is late for work.

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 4:55 PM

      Writer + Accountant = Creative Accountant — just what every company wants 🙂

  5. Meredith Conner

    August 18, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    Multi-tasking at it’s best and most creative! Nice post Carley!

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 4:56 PM

      Thanks, Meredith.

  6. Steph

    August 18, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    What a nice way to go to work. I have 80 acres of beautiful walking area and I sit in the house. I’m going to use you for inspiration to get off my behind and walk.

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 4:57 PM

      The ride to work is great. Ride home is pretty warm right now.
      Thanks for stopping by the blog, Steph.

  7. Marsha R. West

    August 18, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    I love your logic in figuring your time savings, but I’m so not into the cycling thing. I work at home so don’t have that issue, but I’m relatively close to a Walmart grocery and theoretically could walk there and back. However, it’s supposed to be 107 today, so that’s not happening. I did enjoy watching the hummingbirds on my paito this morning at 7 when it was only 80 degrees! The coolest night time temp in weeks.
    I loved your descriptions, Carly; you paint good pictures. Slowing down to observe is very important to our writing. I’m optimistic that at least by the first of November it will have cooled off enough to do some of that observing.
    I’m not a total slug and do go to the gym, but my preference is my daughter’s Pilates studio, where she takes no pity on her mother and allows no excuses. The mind body connection is amazing. If you haven’t tried this form of exercise, I highly reccomend you checking out an authentically certified instructor. Marsha

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 5:05 PM

      Thank you Marsha. When it hits over 100 degrees here, I forfeit the bike ride. Uuuuuuuuh…just the thought of it is awful.

  8. sharlalovelace

    August 18, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    That’s awesome that you can do that. The humidity is so thick here in southeast Texas though, I’d be a sweaty stinking mess by the time I got to work. LOL. Makes me want to go buy a bike though! Just to ride in the evenings when sweaty and messy are acceptable! 🙂 I walk the track at the local high school at night when the heat isn’t as brutal, but a bike would definitely be more fun.

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 5:09 PM

      I visited Texas several years ago when the humidity was hovering at 100%. The entire time I was there, I looked like a poodle (naturally curly hair). Thanks for stopping by the blog, Sharla.

  9. Liz Fredericks

    August 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    You are a multi-tasking goddess! Kudos – now I’m motivated to exercise. I’ll rest until the urge retreats. 😉

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 5:10 PM

      You always make me laugh, Liz.

  10. Mary Vine

    August 18, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Good thinking!!! Great thinking!!! The best I can do is read when I use my exercise bike, so that I will use it!
    Great motivating blog, Carley!

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 5:13 PM

      Thanks, Mary. I tried to read while on an exercise bike at the gym and I just couldn’t do it. The book kept jiggling.

  11. Amity Grays

    August 18, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Riding my bike to work! I’m sweating just thinking about it. Does that count as a workout?

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 5:14 PM

      Anything that works up a sweat counts, they say.

  12. Stacy

    August 18, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    “An old woman in the distance, pushing a shopping cart full of possessions inside white garbage bags. Her hair is gray and pulled back. With each laborious step, she heaves herself forward to what, I wonder.” Now I am wondering about this character too – loved the description!!!

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 5:18 PM

      Thanks, Stacy. I found myself looking for her on my ride to work this morning.

  13. lynn mapp

    August 18, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Carley, I bow down to you. You are saving time, working through plot problems, and getting in your workout. Way to go!

    • Carley Ash

      August 18, 2011 at 6:28 PM

      Thank you, Lynn.

  14. Clarissa Southwickcl

    August 20, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Thanks, Carley, you’ve really inspired me to get back into a regular riding program. It is a great way to work out plot problems and I love that area around Friendship Bridge. Isn’t the greenbelt great?

  15. Carley Ash

    August 20, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    I do love that greenbelt.


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