Write in Weird Places


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

FullSizeRender (2)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.

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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.

FullSizeRender (4)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?

18 comments on “Write in Weird Places”

  1. In a wheelbarrow, I truly did. My husband took a picture of me it is the banner on my blog. I was weeding and collecting fallen leaves when a thought came I needed to get it down quickly and ; he clicked unbeknown to me. Later he asked if I was tired after all Id been out there two hours. 😯😕 that’s when he presented the evidence. But it was a good piece… 😇

  2. This is pretty awesome! Now that you mention it I have some pretty strange places I like to write at as well, like this bench out in Montreal in front of their old port. I guess the scenery allows us to become one with our writing. Great series, looking forward to reading more.

  3. For some reason, over the last couple of years I can write just about anywhere but at my laptop!
    I can write at the coffee shop. (I got nearly a full chapter this way Sunday)
    I can write on the balcony with my iPad.
    I can write in the middle of the food court at the mall.
    I can write at a picnic table in the park.
    As long as my iPad has power or I have paper and pen I’m good to go. As long as I’m not on the couch with my laptop open on my lap *sigh*.

  4. hey I really like your blog 🙂 I’ve never actually written anywhere else except in my house (and occasionally on holiday once). It probably limits my creativity so it would be cool to try out a new place to write, like you said – maybe in the future.
    also thank you for reading and liking my poem!

    1. Totally agree – I wonder what it would be like to seek out places to work specifically based on where the scene you’re writing is set (which would be especially awesome for scenes on the beach)

  5. I have to admit that your admonition “No, I don’t mean ‘yesterday I wrote a short story on my mom’s dining room table’ strange.” had me envisioning someone carving a short story into the surface of their mother’s dining room table, and my mind going ‘but that would be extremely fun and scary!’ ..although also much harder on the hand than even going so far as typing upside-down while suspended over a dormant volcano.

  6. Reblogged this on Still Another Writer's Blog and commented:
    I like writing outside, but the hot Texas sun tends to make laptop screens disappear. (Would have to work at night, sort of like taking that spaceship to the Sun.)

  7. In the car park at the supermarket on the back of a receipt. Mainly because I can’t write and drive. I wish someone would invent a way of writing in the shower.

  8. I don’t know why, but your hook led me into thoughts of Extreme Ironing – you know, an activity fashionable about ten years ago that masqueraded as a ‘sport’, but was really just immature. If you didn’t hear of it, the challenge was to iron a shirt in the most unlikely place possible: examples included the passenger seat of an open cockpit biplane, or half-way up a 100 foot cliff. So, for shirt and ironing board substitute a laptop….

  9. I hear you on trying to reconcile two different personalities within myself — I face a similar struggle — but your idea of writing in weird places is a great way to combat the lack of physical movement/adventure in writing, and I’ll have to try it out myself. Thanks for sharing!

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