Writing on the road

Best Tip of the Trip

On the road, I talk to myself. Usually silently, sometimes quietly. Sometimes I use my hands or head or face to make a point or draw a conclusion (while talking to myself). Mrs. JonTheBruce always asks me what I am doing. I find these interruptions VERY annoying. Rather than start a days long fight, I tried a different tactic this trip. I answered her honestly. Told her what I was thinking about, sometimes I even told the truth. Made things less fighty and more productive.

Getting along through better communication

Getting ready to write

I usually take contemporaneous notes, like FBI Director James Comey, during the course of trip day. Or try to jot down some stuff that forms an outline to write around when I am ready. This trip, Summer 2022, is that. I broke some stories or hunks on the road. Mostly I am using my jotted notes as stems to filling in the missing words based on my notes. I think publishing at the end of the night before going to bed is more gonzo, more real, more urgent.

Mrs. JonTheBruce is a big fan of sleeping and doesn’t enjoy the clicking of keyboards. Merryweather is a much sounder sleeper. Adjust according to your environment.


Passenger Seat

Making notes on the road from the passenger seat is ok with the onscreen keyboard. Not advised from the drivers seat.

The drivers seat

My Overland Rig, the F150, has Apple CarPlay and you can talk to it. It takes dictation. IOS speech to text is pretty great. You can answer the phone and carry on a conversation with people.

The Toyota Highlander has the worst piece of crap built in microphone imaginable. It’s been a total pain in the ass. I didn’t realize how bad until I had my phone hooked up to the car and tried to use it. Mrs. JonTheBruce and I have had many, many failed conversations over the last 4 years because of the Toyota Highlander microphone failings.  

In the Highlander, I had to disconnect the phone from the car via bluetooth then use the built in mic or connect my Bose Headset (which works great) to use speech to text. Even worse, the Toyota has the most aggressive automatic connect I have ever seen.  It is like the car has the psychic ability to automatically ruin a phone call by connecting automagically to Bluetooth.

At the desk

I brought a MacBook for something else on this 2022 trip. Honestly, for the weight and bulk, I would rather have a wireless keyboard that works with my phone. The MacBook allowed me to deal with photos from the other cameras I brought, but I probably shouldn’t have brought them anyway. If you are bringing extra cameras, why not throw another couple of G’s worth of computer into the back of your car. It’s super secure. You would need a rock or a stick to break in and grab all the stuff. You can also haul all that gear into a hotel room every night. It’s just another bag. More stuff, doesn’t make me less crazy. When it comes to keeping my sanity and keeping track of stuff on the road. Less is more.

Use the iPhone with a Bluetooth keyboard

My current favorite is the Logitech K380 79-Key Compact Multi-Device Wireless Bluetooth.

It works great and packs small. It has a physical, sliding on/off switch. It takes AAA batteries. It is deviliciously simple to forget to pack though. Here is a link for which I will not be paid…

Skip the iPad. Skip the laptop. Pour the champagne. Pour the champagne.

I have been writing for a long time. I still wish I had a working copy of Wordperfect 4.2 at times. Here are the things that work for me.

Windows PC

I love Textpad on Windows. https://www.textpad.com/home I am still looking for something like it on Mac. Textpad is a barebones places to type words in a pleasing order. Not a lot of distractions. This is the way to get things done, when you might be tempted to adjust the type size or color or margins or ohhh. how about digging in the tab settings. The best trick I have for writing is to write with as few distractions as possible. Check out Textpad. Textpad also has really advanced search and replace functionality. Notepad++ is a decent backup choice.


I like textEdit on MacOS. Textedit comes with the MacBook. But make sure it doesn’t switch to Rich Text Format. I just spent 30 minutes using different tools to find a weird Carriage Return that was being treated like a line break in WordPress. Not cool. It hasn’t caused issues before now though.



I use Notes on the iPhone and MacBook and iPad (Cross Platform) for taking notes and writing hunks. Notes syncs across devices, so I can see them on the Mac or iPhone or iPad. This requires stable, working internet. Stable internet wasn’t a guarantee on this trip. Notes can also be used for writing. I swear I found an app I like for writing on an iPhone. I didn’t use it at all this trip and I don’t remember what it is called.


Gmail is pretty handy. Allegedly, there is an offline mode. I actually used Gmail for editing today. It is way more robust than notes or TextEdit or the WordPress editor. It caught stuff that I missed in WordPress. Pretty handy.  I haven’t looked into how it would work with no internet.

[Just checked. Editted this story offline, in Chrome on Gmail. It works. Google Workspace. Pretty handy. I would still do the bulk of the writing locally, then copy and paste to edit in Gmail. Always back up. Always. Always. Always. Backup]


Cross Platform

Notes is my ride or die cross platform. It is very handy to have all the notes on any of the devices I might be using at the moment. It works locally and syncs to my other devices. I use it for keeping track of shows we have watched. Recipes. Notes on writing. I have the measurement of things stored in case I need window curtains or a rug.

Microsoft Word still works. I am a Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office professional. This is my default choice when I need to do adult things seriously. I am trying to avoid subscriptions. I don’t need a ton of features to write words that will be published on a dedicated platform.

Apple Pages is part of the free iWork Suite that comes with Apple Proucts. It syncs across platforms. I should try it out. People have nice things to say about it.

Eliminate the Distractions

The apps I mentioned above are pretty distraction free. Just get the words down. Don’t get caught on procrastinating stuff. Things are never going to be perfect. The screen, your chair, your bullshit excuses aren’t getting you any closer to have written something.

It isn’t always easy. Hunter S. Thompson used to type out the words to Great Gatsby to get his fingers moving. They don’t have to perfect. They just have to get down on the page. You can fix them later. Keep practicing. I get stuck in the jazz of it. The rhythm, the flow, the haiku, the beat. Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” has some of the finest strings of words, I have ever read. It is poetry that serves the narrative. At this age, I can deliver some ideas almost fully formed. Once they are down, they can almost always be made better. Sometimes worse. I get too close to ideas sometimes. I lose the thread. I think this is what my friends call “Being Jon Bruce”.

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