Sunday, 24 April 2011
Location, Location, Location – Where Writers do their Best Work
When you’re looking for a home they always say it’s location, location, location. Well, for me it is the same for writing.
Do your surroundings help or hinder your writing?
I don’t know how reporters at big city newspapers do it. They usually sit in a wide-open space (the bullpen) surrounded by other reporters typing away trying to make deadline (thankfully the tapping isn’t as loud as it used to be on the typewriters of bygone days)! Inevitably, there are those who are still hunting down the perfect quote and are talking loudly on their phones attempting to be heard above the cacophony of computer keyboard tapping, conversations and various and assorted ring tones going off throughout the newsroom. Oh, and the five or six TVs mounted on the wall all on different stations so everyone can see the news that’s being covered elsewhere that they may be missing.
Is Silence Golden?
I could never be a reporter, as I have always needed a quiet place to write. So, my hat’s off to them! I did work at a newspaper in South Florida (the Sun-Sentinel) but that was in community relations, not in news gathering. I used to stand in awe just outside the newsroom and watch in disbelief that the noise and frantic activity would actually produce a newspaper at the end of the day. Nevertheless, as I understand it, some people thrive in that type of environment. As they say, vive la difference! Thank goodness we are all attracted to different genres of writing.
Even though I usually need total quiet to work, there are times that I do sit in busy and noisy places just to absorb the experience but I need the silence to help me transfer the experience onto the page. I may need to revisit the place to refresh my memory of the details but if that’s not possible, I just close my eyes and transport myself back to the place…meditation and deep breathing helps.
Does Varying the Location Help?
The other thing I have discovered about my writing habits is no matter how peaceful the location, if I’m trying to write corporate marketing-type material, I need to be sitting at a desk, with my feet planted firmly on the floor with no interruptions. However, to write a mental-dump-type blog (such as this) I’m sitting in the lobby restaurant of the Thapae Boutique House in the middle of downtown Chang Mai, Thailand overlooking a little lane-way where, every few minutes or so, a tour truck, tuc tuc or motorcycle whizzes by. I'll be taking a mental picture of this for future reference, for sure!
Now, I should get back to reality (a different one anyways) as I do need to write a fact sheet for an HR company now. So, it's back to the room so I can concentrate properly.
Do you have any quirky location needs when you’re writing? I’d love to hear about it.