Today, the Blogathon focuses on another theme day, discussing our five favorite places to write. Luckily for me, Rebecca Albrecht shot this photo above of me on our recent Grand Canyon trip doing what I love to do best -- write -- and so I can at least illustrate this post...I don't usually take pictures of myself while I'm writing, and I generally do it in only one place. So we'll start there:Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor.
It's a gift to the world and every being in it.
Don't cheat us of your contribution.
Give us what you've got.
~Steven Pressfield in The War of Art
ON MY CUSHY LEATHER CHAIR IN MY OFFICE
I enjoy writing at my desk. I'm most comfortable there. I like the sound of typing on the keyboard. It makes me feel so productive. I'm near my phone and files, so I can easily conduct interviews or follow up with sources on questions I may have, and I see the books on my shelves that provide inspiration. Magazines scattered or stacked on top of the desk provide good karma for potential sales. The view from my window allows me to see the restaurant on top of the hill or my neighbors as they cruise on by in car and on feet, and I can daydream at my desk. It's where the bulk of my work happens, so I'm used to it. The work flows easily here.
Above, you can see me pictured sitting down on a Paco Pad. I'm there reading and taking notes for future essays I might want to write about after I return from my trip to the Grand Canyon. I did that in lieu of a hike that morning. I loved every minute of it. Being and writing in nature gives me the chance to step out of my comfort zone (my office). It allows thoughts to flow with more abandon. For me, writing outdoors, away from the desk, without technology around, is an exercise in free writing. Writing in nature allows me to brainstorm with myself. But I have to do it without the laptop. This is the place where I use the old-fashioned pen and paper. A whole different thought-process emerges, and I find I need that every now and then. And it works. I've been working on three essays since returning from this trip.
WITH FRIENDS WHO WRITEI don't do this often, but I'm a fan and enjoy writing in a group setting. This could be in a classroom situation, at a coffee shop, at the library. It's another way to get creative and brainstorm. For the writer used to working alone at home, writing with other friends who write can pay off in the form of better ideas. It's about connection. We need it. What we take away will transfer onto the page later.
ON THE COUCH IN FRONT OF THE TVAgain, no laptop here, but I do love writing in my journals and notebooks on the couch in the front of the television, whether it's on or off. This is where I do most of my long-term planning. It's not anything formal. It's just getting words on paper, thoughts on paper, ideas on paper. Later, they'll become more concrete. This is a practice I've carried on for decades, and whatever goes inside those journals eventually turns into an idea I sell. It's always been that way.
AT A WRITER'S RETREATThis is somewhat like writing with friends who write, except when you attend a formal retreat, you'll more likely be working with strangers, or writers you don't know. I like the challenge of working with people I don't know, learning from them, getting to know them. And I like the formality of the classroom setting or the informality of writing outdoors or the idea of writing in an unfamiliar place. I think it's good exercise for the mind to shake things up in this way as often as you can.
Do you know where you do your best work?