Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Best Place to Write or Draw…

There is unending advice about how, why, whom and when to write or draw but seldom do you read about where to do your passion. Where do you find that special place, one fertile enough but private enough to create?

It’s popular today to jump off the gerbil wheel of the office or ditch the constant din of domestic bliss for a coffee shop where the caffeine runs freely and the sounds of steam and conversation become a non-distracting white noise. The WiFi is free and there is usually not a clock to be seen.

Some people like to escape to a hotel room or a cabin on an uninhabited pond like Rowling or Walden. Some are lucky enough to have a haven set aside in or near their house where they can let the muse sit quietly by and interrupt only when necessary or invited. Choosing your writing sanctuary might be found serendipitously (love that word) or found only after a great search. It just might be found where you are at the moment. Often it’s a personal place or a place that contains memories. Or it’s the only uncluttered spot on the kitchen table.

A few essentials for choosing that inspiring place:

1) Find a good chair, a non-finicky computer, a well oiled typewriter or good pen (for the traditionalists). Author/illustrators should have all their art toys and materials surrounding them. Make a contract with yourself not to use the WiFi except for reference. Turn off the phone.

2) Have a dictionary or spell checker available. A Thesaurus is handy too.

3) Always start with a clear workspace either on your desk or table or your digital desktop. Hide all the open documents and piles of paper. Close all the programs but your writing program. File away the mail, bills and catalogs even if it’s just under the desk or in a computer file labeled “Later”. Put out the cat, kennel the dog and tell the kids to go outside and play.

4) Be comfortable. Unless you are writing of pain, angst, urgency and despair, definitely have a bathroom nearby (or a handy forest). Find the best lighting; too bright or too dark ambient lighting strains your eyes. Stay warm but not too warm; your brain works better when it’s not worried about shivering or sweating. And don’t forget some munchies – writer’s block often starts with low blood sugar!

5) Leave self-doubt in the closet. Then “Just do it”.

Where is your perfect place?


Melissa Gill said...

Unfortunately, I have to work with what I have. I mostly write on the computer now, because I can't write fast enough to keep up with myself. But that leaves me chained to my computer, which is in my bedroom, in my sad sad little apartment. My chair stinks, and my usual view is my fat cat laying in the hallway, wanting me to feed him. My other writing place is at work (a soul sucking call center at an insurance company) where I can write on breaks, lunch, and between calls.

Despite all of that, I feel really lucky to have a computer in my home, and since I'm on my own, I don't have any distractions other than the cats (occasionally the mouse also get a bit rowdy, but they're pretty nocturnal.)

Someday I dream of having a writing/craft studio, but I need to have funds first. So I have to shut out my surroundings and just retreat inside my head. Things are a bit strange in there, but as a writer sometimes strange works.

Melissa Gill said...

I gave you the One Lovely Blog Award.