Saturday, August 26, 2006


"A man may write at any time if he will set himself doggedly to it."
Samuel Johnson 1709-1784 From James Boswell, Life of Johnson March 1750

We had a discussion the other night of the places where people situate themselves to write. One woman told of an Irish writer (female) who only likes to write in bed. A lot of famous writers like Scott Fitzgerald and Dylan Thomas used to write in pubs. The "Harry Potter" series was created in a coffee shop. Other writers retreat to solitary places. Where do you write?

I generally prefer to write notes by hand before working at the computer. I sit at the kitchen table and go through research and then make notes for my new chapter segments. Then I retire to my bedroom where my computer is set up, surrounded by a lot of memorabalia of Greece that offers me inspiration (pictures, nick-nacks and other stuff). Some of my initial notes are often made spontaneously while I'm walking, perhaps on the sea wall, or at the beach, and once in awhile at my favorite coffee shop on the Drive. When I was working on my play "The Street" because it had Italian characters in it, The Calabria coffee shop was very conducive to setting a mood as they always play Italian music there and the place is decorated with Italian kitch with photos of famous Italians (movie stars, singers, musicians, dancers) on the walls.

When I travel I don't take a lap-top. I do have a palm pilot but when I decided to use it instead of my word processor, I ended up forgetting to keep the battery charged and lost all my work. So the tried-and-true method of notes is the best policy for me. I also keep daily journals, especially when travelling, for these are invaluable reference tools. I have often written copious scenes and notes for my writing while sitting on the beach, or at a sea-side taverna, or just resting by the wayside.

Where to you prefer to write? What environment inspires you? Do you make notes first or just write cold in front of an empty computer screen? Does anyone still use a manual typewriter? (I've saved my red portable Brother for a souvenier of those days I used to have it set up on the wide stone window sill of my shepherd's cottage in Greece when I was writing away in the village. Those were happy times. Productive too. Frankly I find the computer can be quite a distraction even though it's quicker for making edits and changes.)

"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance.
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance,
'Tis not enough so harshness gives offense
The sound must seem an echo to the sense."
Alexander Pope 1688- 1744


Debra Young said...

My favorite inside places to chaise longue in the living room where I can rest my head back and dream or comfortably esconced in bed. When I'm in bed I like to write by hand rather than on the Mac. My favorite outside place is the bluff overlooking the beach. Staring at the water frees my thoughts and I've done my best and most productive work on sunny days beneath a palm tree with tablet and pen. During the week, due to my long commute, I'll stay in the city and save myself traffic stress and write at Starbucks or the Coffee Bean & Tealeaf; same goes for work mornings. And I've started many a scene and worked out plot problems during the afternoon walk on weekends. d:))

Sam said...

I like writing in bed, sitting up with the laptop on my knees. But I work more often at the desk in the livingroom - with the TV, the hubsband, the kids, the dogs and the distractions.
I usually get up early to write.
I can't write surrounded by strangers - so a pub or coffee shop would be out of the question. And when the kids are home I don't get much work done because of where my computer is. lol

Wynn Bexton said...

Thanks for your input. It's interesting to know where other writer's feel most comfortable.
I often get great ideas as I'm about to doze off. That happened last night and no, I didn't get up and write them down. So darn! today I can't remember those brilliant ideas at all.
I couldn't write in bed other than getting up to jot down notes. I don't even read in bed. And anyway, I don't have a laptop!

Sam said...

I do that all the time (get ideas while half asleep) and I forget to write them down.
Well, once I actually did write them down, and they weren't that great after all - lol. So now I don't bother waking up to find a pen.