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10 Inspiring Places to Write

March 31, 2010

Is it really the last day of March, already?

As usual, I had a hard time deciding on a topic, so I did what any lazy writer would do. I looked for inspiration in other blogs and found it in a few posts on writing spaces. So I first have to give credit to Brock Henning over at Lifesummit in his post Where is Your Writing Abode? Make sure you drop by, because his post is linked to a couple other blogs with interesting reads on the subject. I’m also lovin’ Where Stories are Made… over at Book Chick City. Every week, they bring in guest authors to describe their writing spaces.

I’ve decided to approach writing spaces a little different in this post. I’ve included places, past and present, where I’ve found the most inspiration to write. Here are the top ten:

#10 – The Usual Places: Where better to begin than with the usual places I drag my computer around the house every day? Like right now, I’m on the couch, surrounded by snoring beagles, writing today’s post. Whenever I stop in mid-sentence or paragraph, searching in my mind for just the right words, I scratch the nearest tummy and the answers comes to me. They’re like little genies. In addition, I have an office I don’t use because the desk is an old roll top that’s way too uncomfortable. Instead I opt for the dining room table if I feel like sitting in a chair.

#9 – On Public Transportation: Ten years ago I lived in Colorado Springs half the week and Aurora, Colorado half the week. While in Aurora, I rode the bus into Downtown Denver, where I worked at the time. The commute was about an hour each way, and I was never without a notebook. Every morning I blabbered in the journl, added to my list of story ideas and wrote half a novel before I stopped riding on that route. So public transportation is good for more than the environment.

#8 – On a Long Car Trip: So you’re wondering, how is this different than #9? While on a long car trip to Southern Colorado or Rocky Mountain National Park, I can edit my ass off. On public transportation, there are far too many distractions from fellow commuters, and I can’t edit without mostly silent surroundings.

#7 – At Chuckie Cheese: Any place there are large numbers of screaming children, my ears tune out and my imagination takes over. So when my sons reached the age they could take off unsupervised at places like Chuckie Cheese or small amusement parks, I’d hand them a cup full of tokens, open the old notebook and write a new short story or add to a novel. This worked for everyone. They played for hours and I never killed anyone else’s kid.

#6 – In the Middle of Downward Dog: Yes, I know you’re supposed to clear your thoughts while doing yoga, but I can only do that for maybe two minutes at a time. It does help clear my mind of the insignificant crap quite well. So if I’m distracted and can’t work through a scene, by the time I’ve stretched for twenty minutes, I’ve usually got it all figured out.

#5 – From a Jail Cell: Well, not in reality. Whenever I can’t seem to find peace and quiet anywhere, the loner in me dreams of writing from a jail cell in solitary confinement. No Internet, no planning dinner, no vacuuming, and no teenagers not doing their homework. Ahhhhh :-)

#4 – With My Left (Less Dominant) Hand: Every now and then, when I don’t feel I’m quite capturing the personality of an antagonist, I pull out a notebook and tell the character to write through my left hand. Oh, and I write backwards because it’s just easier with my less dominant hand. Five years or so ago, I actually picked up a book in a new age shop that discussed using this technique as therapy. Since most antagonists could use a good therapist, I decided to let my bad guys talk to me using this method. The results are both scary and amazing. Or, maybe I’m also in need of a good therapist.

#3 – While People Watching: This one includes writing just about anywhere: coffee shops, libraries, park benches. I think C.J. hit on this one a few weeks ago. What better inspiration for characters than watching real people interact. Need a description for your bitchy character? Coffee shops are a great place to find ‘em. The wimpy guy who just missed the bus might work well as your next victim, eaten by a monster down a dark alley.

#2 – In Bed; In My Head:  Sometimes I wish I could turn a story off like I can turn off the television. I was up at 2:30 A.M. Tuesday morning because The Courier was playing the next part over and over in my head. If I haven’t written anything new for a few days or can’t work through a scene, I have no control over my thoughts. It’s worse, at night, when there are no distractions. Good thing I’m a writer and not a serial murderer.

#1 – Walking the Dogs with a Hand Held Recorder: While I love a tranquil walk with the pups, they are beagles, and half our daily one-hour trek involves them sniffing for rabbits and me standing beside them thinking about story plots, character development and new ideas. So I can’t leave the house without my hand held recorder. Last year, around this time, I wrote a novel in a month and most of it was written during our daily walks. Heck, I’m expecting to write most of the second Courier novel this way.

And so that it, folks, my favorite writing spaces. I’d love to hear about any of your out of the ordinary writing habits.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. David Sartof permalink*
    March 31, 2010 6:21 am

    Lovely! An intriguing insight in the life of a fellow author! I do like your flexibility.

    Me? Well I don’t think I could write without a desk in front of me. But I do know where I would like that desk to be. If I had the opportunity, my writing room would be in a boat, either moored in the marina in Antibes, Southern France, or on a barge on a canal in Yorkshire.

  2. Harley D. Palmer permalink*
    March 31, 2010 10:49 am

    Great post! I find my best writing at night with the lights off in the house. This is especially effective if my husband is already in bed too! That’s my writing time really. I do get a little while, like right now, while my son is eating lunch or taking his nap, but I use that time to check the blogs, make a post of my own, and check emails and such. Night time is when I can write!

    So, I put my son to bed, make sure my hubby is set up with is laptop or the tv, sit down in my little office (it’s a cubicle literally in the middle of the living room) with just the small lamp and get to work! For some reason the dark or dim light really spurs my imagination!

    • March 31, 2010 2:32 pm

      I remember those days of juggling the kiddos and writing and work. That seems like such a long time ago. Now my teenage son would be happy if I disappeared more often to write so he could sneak on his computer games.

  3. March 31, 2010 11:03 am

    Excellent idea for a blog – finding out where writers like to create and what spaces they have for it.

    I don’t know if I could come up with a list of ten, good for you. Maybe three to five, at best.

  4. March 31, 2010 11:14 am

    Loved your post today, Wendy! I’m with Harley. When the kids are in bed and hubby’s watching TV, it’s quiet upstairs and I don’t feel like I’m neglecting anyone. That’s become my new favorite writing time and it’s not unusual for me to work till the wee hours. Though it’s rough when the alarm goes off the next morning, I keep coming back for more.

    • March 31, 2010 2:40 pm

      Thanks, Supriya! I enjoy reading and watching a little tube with my hubby to be in the evenings. Like tonight I couldn’t give up watching who gets voted off American Idol.

  5. March 31, 2010 11:17 am

    Oh, and my place of choice: the kitchen table. I can seriously work anywhere as long as there’s not too much chatter around me, so I should add, anywhere where it’s peaceful. (Love this topic.)

  6. March 31, 2010 4:56 pm

    Neat post! #8, 3 and 2 work well for me, but most of book one in the 13 to Life series got written (well, at least mentally) in a hay tent (amazingly different there–completely breaks the brain out of normal patterns) and on short trips between my farm and my brother-in-law’s. But for copyedits I’m a coffee house girl. ;-)

    ~Shannon

  7. March 31, 2010 11:37 pm

    Great blog. Personally, I do my writing late at night or early in the morning. Often, while exhibiting ADD-like symptoms, I’ll be in my bedroom at 2 a.m., typing away while listening to music and watching TV, with many breaks to read a few pages of two or three books.

    • April 1, 2010 8:06 am

      Speaking of music, I’m always fascinated by the time some writers put into creating play lists that inspire their writing.

  8. Abigail Curry permalink
    October 23, 2011 2:30 pm

    Ah-ha! Came across this chatter while brainstorming on the top ten places I’d like to write. This weekend, kicks off the first: A single room in a roadside motel, 2 miles west of Anywhere on the Pacific Northwest Coast, USA along side of a famous American highway…!! A nice break in routine from the coziness of my writing “armoire”, in the middle of my dining room, doors left open to enclose me into the imaginative world of words.

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