Sunday, August 26, 2012

Where do you Write? 

Marti Colvin aka IC Enger

I used to be able to write from anywhere. I would take my little netbook with me to the lake, on the couch at eleven o’clock at night, in the waiting room, and knock out a chapter or two. Then I set up a comfortable place to write in my TV room with all of the materials I could possibly want to use, and guess what happened? My brain has decided it likes it there, and only there, and does not want to engage anywhere else for creative composing.

I discovered this recently on a trip to the Police Writer’s Conference in Las Vegas, followed by a leisurely trip home via the Oregon coast. I faithfully took along my laptop, filled with the intention of getting some quality writing done on the trip. Each time I unzipped the case and powered up the computer I found my time spent on Facebook, e-mail and surfing. Inspiration in measurable amounts refused to visit the hotel rooms.

Las Vegas, so full of glittering distraction and all day conference sessions could be excused. There was also, ahem, a small matter of my wedding to plan and attend. A bit of a distraction in itself. Still though, you’d think I could get a few quality paragraphs written.

The trip along the Oregon coast offered many leisurely hours and a perfectly inspiring location to cozy down and write. I came home with beach shells, rocks, pieces of driftwood, way too much caramel corn under the belt, and not a chapter – again.
Once I got home and sat down at my special writing place, all was well again. Inspiration flowed like molasses and the chapters are marching forward once again. This all made me wonder – does place equal muse? Do you have a special place where writing seems to come easily, or can you indeed write from anywhere?
I have a long desk at home, with everything I need within easy reach, complete with a view of green bushes and patio that seem to get my creative juices flowing.
I also have a handy bookcase with my favorite how-to books (“STORY” by Robert McKee is my Bible), toys and muse within reach. All of my research is in a couple of file drawers just a few feet from my chair.
I’m afraid I have set up my space so perfectly for me that I have conditioned my brain to engage only while I am physically sitting there. Maybe if it were a little less comfortable and convenient I could break the hold it has on me. Next book. This one I actually want to finish, so I won’t be changing what works right now. Do you have a similar experience to share?
IC Enger ....  aka Marti Colvin

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Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Your work space is neat! Mine is not. I can write other places, but not on my little computer I take with me on trips. When I'm away from home, it's pen and paper.

And by the way, I loved your wedding.

Good post.


Sunny Frazier said...

I refuse to have a laptop, ditched three already. I type too fast for those frail little keys.

My computer comes with shackles. When I'm away, I want to enjoy the NOW and not think about the work I have waiting for me at home. I refuse to own a cell phone for the same reason. Until the cats learn to dial, there's nobody that needs me that badly.

IC Enger said...

Thanks Marilyn! It will be pen and pencil for me this winter when we go back to the Oregon coast for Christmas. Thanks for coming to the wedding!!!

Sunny - my grandkids and friends think I'm nuts because my cell phone doesn't take pictures - now I can tell them I know someone who doesn't have a cell phone! They wont believe me though.

Helen Ginger said...

I do best sitting at my desk, using a cordless keyboard. I need quiet, although I've gotten used to the TV running in the living room. I travel quite a bit so I can work in hotel rooms. Yeah, even on vacations, I take my laptop.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

I have my big Mac up in a former kids bedroom. It could be a bigger space, but then I'm sure in no time I'd spread out. I tend to do that: spread out into what ever space is available.

Having all my tools available in one spot is important. Although I can come up with story ideas anywhere (usually while driving my car), I need the computer to compose. Besides since my books are for young children, my scanned drawings are ever ready to plug into my books.

Quiet is essential for concentration so no music or radio. Just me and my thoughts and deep concentration and I am in creative heaven. Beryl

Holli said...

Mine isn't place as much as time. I do my best work in the wee hours, usually after 11:00 p.m. and before 6:00 a.m. I do this whether I'm at home or on vacation. I guess there are too many daytime distractions for me to get much done during non-Vampire hours.

William Doonan said...

I do half my work at school and half at home, so everything has to be portable. The files travel electronically, and if I could, I would too.

Sally Carpenter said...

I never understood how writers could work in coffeehouses. I need quiet and solitude. First drafts are always in longhand; I can't compose fiction on a computer. I sit on my sofa (comfy!) with a pen and clipboard to write first drafts. Then I type up my squiggles on the computer. I have a computer workstation set up in front of a window with a view of greenery. I need a bigger table, though; my cats have started laying beside the keyboard and it's hard to work around them. I can't write when I'm at a conference. By the time I'm finished with the activities I'm too tired to think.

IC Enger said...

It seems that where and when we write is as diverse as the number of writers! I do love the cloud, and I'm thinking about William's comment on travelling electronically. Hmmmm, cyber author. It could work.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

P.S. I don't write at conferences, but I always do Facebook and blog. I get tons of emails, and I can get rid of the trash on my computer at home with my Blackberry and keep those I need to tend too. I use my phone for emails and Facebook, seldom for a phone--only people that have my number are family.