Personally I have written in all sorts of places. OK, so not the toilet or in the bath, because it could get kind of messy, but most places. Reading, well that’s a different story, I have read books, magazines and newspapers pretty much everywhere you could imagine, because if you love reading, well where doesn’t matter, or shouldn’t. Why shouldn’t it matter? Because if what you are reading is truly engrossing and you lose yourself in it, then where you are should melt away into obscurity.
Writing however, can be affected by all sorts of things. Imagine trying to write an emotional piece about the death of an important character, while sat on the tube clattering along while being nudged by others. Imagine trying to write about a peaceful and beautiful place while you’re sat on a bucket at a building site, while Bob the Builder hammers a wall with a pick axe. OK, I’m exaggerating, but you know what I mean.
Naturally if we were so limited in our ability to take flight with our imagination then we would have to be wrapped up in cotton wool or actually have to experience the things we write about, and end up sounding more like we were giving a presentation than creating worlds of the mind, our minds.
It is good to experience things, new places, people and events, because they all add to our knowledge and even our wisdom. However there has to be a space within us to simply create something from nothing, otherwise what is our imagination for? It’s not enough to simply parrot what we have seen or heard, we have to reshape it and bend it into something the reader would hopefully not have experienced before.
The point about where we write, and where we create something, is more important to us as creators than for the reader, viewer or listener, because there does have to be a state of mind where we are open to new ideas and allow our minds to flow with interesting thoughts and ideas. Of course if we are writing a horror story, and we are in a place where something strange or weird occurs, then this can add to what we need to show, it can provoke a sense of something which we can incorporate, but often we just need a quiet moment to be able to tell the story.
Being creative with what we write isn’t enough, unless you’re dealing with absurdism, which might not need a defined narrative. Most readers will want a sense of direction, which requires plot, and character development, and actually going somewhere with it. If we write in a place which affects our ability to concentrate, then we will often miss things, create glaring errors, not to mention the ubiquitous spelling errors, and endless grammatical inadequacies. Readers are very quick to point these out, and of course they have the right to, because they pay for our work, and have a right to expect the best. If for no other reason, that should tell us all we need about the importance of uninterrupted writing.
Which brings me neatly to the original point: where is the best place to write?
For me, I mainly write in a small wooden summer house, windows at side and front, and double doors which open out. Beyond is a small yard which on either side has plants giving it a green and flowery sensation. It is quiet here, apart from a large tree overhanging, often filled with birds.
I find it a good place to be, and a good place to write.
I have written in other places, like my living room, but then there are distractions from letters arriving, and people coming in and out, or someone knocking for something. At least here, in the back, I can pretend I am not in, and perhaps the only person left alive, albeit thankfully for a short time.
I wonder what the real differences are between what kind of place we need in order to be able to enjoy our reading, and just how bad it could be as a writer for me not to be able to write.
I guess I’ll have to go into a war-zone or onto a building site with Bob the Builder and find out!
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