Have you ever written somewhere a little bit strange? No, I don’t mean ‘yesterday I wrote a short story on my mom’s dining room table’ strange. I mean somewhere different, somewhere outside the norm. Somewhere exciting. Somewhere fun or scary. A place that might seem regular, but still a place you’d never consciously go to work on a normal day.
I have. I did it today, and last week, and a few weeks before that.
And it was awesome.
Welcome to the first part of my new series of blog posts: Write in Weird Places.
I have a problem. It’s not a huge problem, nothing life altering, and certainly nothing to complain about. But it’s still a problem. The issue I’m having is that I’ve been trying to reconcile two different parts of my life.
First and foremost, I love writing (cue the, “No shit, you have a blog” thoughts). I love stories. I love creating them, sharing them, editing them, daydreaming them; I love it all. But writing is an extremely solitary activity. For all that you can discuss stories, brainstorm with friends, share ideas, meet other authors, interact with people through your blog – you have to actually sit down and write. If you’re writing books, it’s probably something along the lines of a 40:1 ratio – for every hour of discussion you get with people, you probably spent 40 hours writing the thing you’re discussing.
On the other hand, though, I also crave social interaction. I love going out with friends, adventure, traveling everywhere I can. I love going to bars, rooftops, beaches, the gym, sporting events. I love being outdoors.
And as well as I’ve done keeping up with both of these parts of my life, it’s hard to switch from one end of the spectrum to the complete opposite in just a few minutes. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
So I decided to add a little excitement to the solitary writing half – to put some actual adventure into the creative adventure that is creating and writing stories.
That’s where this series of posts comes from.
Because sometimes we forget to get out there, to see the world from different perspectives and different angles. The stories we’re writing are in our heads, sure, and we’re creating them with boundless imagination; but sometimes the world around us is more wondrous, more tangible, more wild and creative than anything we can possibly dream up. So why not see what is has to offer?
Part 1 is below, and it’s about a few weeks ago, when I got a chance to write for a couple of hours at my friend’s house in Nantucket.
I hope you come along for the ride, because as I run out of the more standard places to write, you better believe things are going to get weird (read: awesome).
Write in Weird Places – Part 1: Nantucket
On Memorial Day Weekend I was lucky enough to be invited by a good friend to stay at her house in Nantucket. There were about fifteen of us going (all 2-3 years out of college) and I couldn’t have been more excited – I’d never been to Nantucket before. I packed as many shorts, colored pants, and pastel shirts as I could find, jumped in my car, and started the drive up from DC. I was also feeling optimistic, so I brought my iPad and made myself a promise: I would get something done that weekend.
Friday passed by in a whirl of car and ferry rides, too many beers, loud music, and sunshine. I set my alarm for 8am the next morning.
When it went off I snoozed it ten times.
But at 9 in the morning, dehydrated and hungover, I stumbled onto the back porch with my iPad and a glass of water. The view was unbelievable, and all of the pictures (including the one up top) are ones I took from my phone.
There was something about the change of scenery that spurred my productivity and creativity that morning. It was perfect to be out there with a morning breeze and the sound of insects and birds; I was writing a chase scene through a field and a forest, and I stole several sounds and smells from real life and put them right into the story.
It felt great to breathe the fresh morning air and see real sunlight. Just by being outside I felt less like I was working alone and more like I was relaxing with friends. I wrote over 2,000 words.
That is until someone who won’t be named came outside with a full beer in a red solo cup and told me I had to chug it. I told him that if I did he had to leave me alone for 15 minutes so I could finish what I was doing. He did, so I did, and to be totally honest I think the beer might actually have helped a little.
If I get invited out there next year, I will 100% be going (except on the way home I missed my ferry and didn’t get back until 4:30am – maybe I’ll try to cut that part out).
What about you? Do you like writing outside? What’s your favorite spot to get work done? Do you bring your laptop/tablet with you to get work done while you travel? If so, what tips do you have?