The Perfect Place to Write

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I spent the last week at Edisto Beach, SC. It’s quiet and lovely and other than the ocean itself, any entertainment you have to bring with you. I couldn’t help feeling that it was the perfect place to write. Everyone knows there’s only one perfect place to write, after all. If you don’t put yourself in that perfect place, the muse won’t make an appearance and you’ll end up staring at a blank screen trying to come up with opening lines that clearly flew south for the season. I really think the beach is that perfect place. The ocean’s constant crash and roar is nature’s white noise, soothing and peaceful. Soft breezes off the water caress your face while you relax into your imaginary world, only realizing hours later that you’re sun-crisped from head to toe except the tiny square of laptop-shaped skin on your legs.

Okay, maybe the beach isn’t perfect. It must be the mountains. Renting a cabin surrounded by the wind sighing through the trees is the one place on earth you can truly find your creativity. The quiet of the forest, broken only by the calls of birds and the skittering of squirrels on the rooftop, and the sudden crashing of bears coming through the screen door in search of the open package of Oreos you forgot you left on the table.

Hmmmm…I’ve got it now. The desert. Sure it’s hot during the day, but at night the sky becomes an inspiring black velvet canvas littered with sparkling diamond stars, unmarred by city light or smog. Or heat. It’s bloody cold at night in the desert, and most writers’ feet get cold even in the warmest climes.

Maybe sticking closer to home is the answer. Of course, the library! The library is quiet and free of distraction, temperature controlled and just packed full of books containing every bit of information you might need to give your story that bit of verisimilitude that pushed it from good to great. All those books on the shelves next to the ones by Steven King and Dan Brown, who made six kajillion dollars, an amount you’ll never be able to achieve and what the hell are you thinking, assuming you can write anyway?

Sorry, sorry, lost my train of thought there. Clearly the library’s out. But the coffee shop – now there’s the place. All the benefits of the library (except those annoying bestsellers to taunt you) with access to overly sugared food and all the hot caffeinated drinks you might want. Sure there might be other fledgling writers nearby, watching you write and sighing at your obvious determination, but there’s no harm in that. Until one of them steps close to your table and tips your freshly served coffee over, scorching your legs and shorting out the laptop just when you finished the best eighteen pages you’d ever written in your entire life.

You know, come to think of it, there is one perfect place. The perfect place for you to write is right where you are. On whatever medium suits you, sitting in the comfortable chair, creating the story that drives your imagination and letting the muse hold your hand.

Yeah, I think that’s it.

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17 comments to The Perfect Place to Write

  • Yeah, except for all those days when the perfect place to write is wherever you aren’t.

  • Easy trap to fall into, isn’t it, Misty? I’m equally likely to fall int the ‘perfect TIME to write’ trap. When it’s time to write, I can think of a million other things that desperately need attending to — update a website, read a book, do a load of laundry — and can barely keep my butt in my chair some days. It’s insane, but then what else can you expect from writers, eh?

  • Mikaela

    I think that there is no perfect place. Every writer is different. Some can write at coffeshops, some can’t. I’ll freely admit that I write best when I am alone. No nosy family that asks what I am doing. Or wants the computer.

  • The perfect place for me to write is floating down a Class II – III river. My hands are on a paddle, my mind focused on reading the water. My hind-brain or back-brain or my muse (but David won’t let me describe him again) is writing like crazy. But yeah, Misty. That perfect place is wherever you are. I’m ready for tea and long writer-girl-chat to hear all about yoru vacation!

  • I tried writing at the beach once–I ended up with sand in my keyboard. ^_^

    I’ve also gone searching for the perfect place write, but you’re right, it is wherever you are at the time when you can squeeze out some words.

    Hope your beach trip was fun!

  • Beatriz

    The shower. Seriously. I discovered in college that when I stuck for ideas they usually appeared at the most inappropriate time and place: whilst my head was under hot running water.

    Even now when I’m at a writing impass it still works. Of course I have a hard time getting my boss to understand that I can’t finish the training material she wants written until I go home and take a shower. :-)

  • Wherever, whenever, on whatever medium works best. Yes, that’s it. This is lovely, Misty. I wrote in my journal at the beach, but didn’t do any book writing. That was on purpose. But there were moments when the scent and sound of the ocean did inspire….

  • I find that even different parts of the house can have a different feeling. Heck, even in the same room. Sometimes I write at my desk. Sometimes I do better on the couch in my office. Sometimes I go downstairs (particularly in the morning when the sun is hitting my reading chair just so). It’s not a matter of waiting for the muse to find me, but rather finding where in the house that bugger is hiding and planting myself next to it.

  • Stuart, I tried that yesterday. I was stuck on a plot point in a proposal and I stretched out in the recliner with a pad and pen. And promptly was covered in dogs. We took a nice nap together. I woke with the plot point all figured out and just finished the proposal rewrite. At my desk. With a *strong* cuppa tea.

  • Clever, Misty. And a point well taken.

  • Beatriz> I find that about the shower, too. And I used to “write” when I’d commute to and from work. It was a lovely 45ish minute drive, pretty much always against traffic, and I could let my mind wander. Of course, a few times, I’d end up at work thinking “How did I get here?” (cue Talking Heads song.)

    I like to write a Barns and Noble, in their cafe. When it is loud, with lots of folks, I can tune them out. When it is quiet, it’s fine, too. When just one person is talking I want to hit him or her with a stick. 😀 Plus, my sweetie works there, so he’ll come have his lunch or dinner with me.

    But I wrote most of my current WIP on Friday afternoons in the BnN in Fayetteville. Maybe someday they’ll put up a little sign.

  • admin

    Todd Here.

    Misty would love to respond to your posts but she is traveling without internet access.

    Meanwhile I am free to respond.

    Beatriz said: The shower. Seriously. I discovered in college that when I stuck for ideas they usually appeared at the most inappropriate time and place: whilst my head was under hot running water.

    So if we waterboard you we might get a short story out of you?

  • This is so true. There is no “perfect” place. I have such a busy life right now that where I can write is wherever I can and just adapt to my surroundings. Last month I was in the hospital (nothing serious) but I realized I’d brought no writing materials in the rush to emergency. I had my phone and wound up texting myself instead.

    Also, I’m a fan of Dropbox. That program is great for keeping all my files up to date when I’m working on multiple computers.

  • […] B. Coe reminds us that finishing the novel is only the beginning, ♣ Misty Massey talks about finding the perfect place to write, and ♣ AJ Hartley discusses judging a book by its […]

  • Beatriz

    Todd, don’t you know it’s not nice to make me snort diet coke out of my nose????

    I’ll have to consider water boarding as an acceptable way of getting me back into writing.

  • Great post, Misty. Like working out and exercising, I like to change up my routine to keep it fresh. I alternate between coffee shop, library, office and sunroom. Sometimes the location is based on weather, others based on noise level or my personal distraction level. With computer games in the office, I have a hard time sitting there unless I’m deep into a juicy chapter.

    *side note for Todd* Is there a way for us to modify our profile pictures? The green geometric shape thingy is cool, but I’d like to hoist my own colors.

  • My perfect place is either at my desk with the internet unplugged for a while and headphones on listening to instrumental mood music or outside with the net unplugged and listening to instrumental mood music. The key thing is “internet unplugged” or I’ll sit and check facebook, MW, and the various other sites I hang out on all day instead of writing.