Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ideal Situations For Writers Might Be A Fairy Tale

I have been on Pinterest for some time but must honestly admit that I haven't done a lot there other than pin my blog posts on a few boards. I decided to spend a bit of time there this morning and found a treasure trove on a board that provides quotes on writing from writers. The poster I've selected for today was on a unique website that highlighted the work habits of successful writers. You might enjoy a visit to Maria Popova's interesting page on writers.

The quote above is by E. B. White, famed essayist and author of the beloved children's book, Charlotte's Web. He is also the White part of the Strunk and White who co-authored The Elements of Style, a book that should be familiar to all writers.

Let's get to the ideal conditions Mr. White mentions. Many writers think that they could write up a storm if they didn't have so many interruptions, if family life didn't interfere with writing time, if they could only run off to a mountain cabin for a month and do nothing but write. Wouldn't it be ideal if we could squirrel ourselves away in some remote spot with nothing between us and writing? 

Have you seen ads in writing magazines that offer accommodation in majestic surroundings that will afford you the privacy you need to write? Colorado Rockies, Italy, Adirondacks, a tropical paradise--there are all kinds of places to go . But how many writers can afford to do so? And just how remote do you want to be? 

Imagine yourself in a cabin in the Rockies? It's far off the main road, deep into a wooded area. Someone built the small cabin in a man-made clearing, furnished it, stocked it with wood for the fireplace and food staples. You bring in the perishable food items with you. So now, it's just you, your computer, the birds and butterflies, an endless blue sky and time to finally write to your heart's content. No TV to tempt you here.

You have your laptop with you but no wi-fi service in the woods, so you can write but you can't communicate via internet. But you do have your phone and you can be in touch with others, or so you think. No cell-phone service in this isolated area either.You convince yourself you'll get more done this way.

Then it happens--you sit down to write and you're blank. All the ideas you had at home must have stayed there. Your muse didn't come along on this trip. She stayed at home watching the family antics for ideas. You go out for a walk but the wind starts to blow and the rain comes down so hard you barely find your way back to the cabin. You change into dry clothes and go back to the computer as the storm rages outside. You decide to write about the storm and you come up with three great paragraphs. What next? Stuck for an idea again. 

All the above is purely imaginary. Some writer's retreat places may be great and writers do get something accomplished. But not always. 

The point is that there is probably no ideal situation for writing. When inspiration hits or you find something in your natural surroundings to motivate you, jump on it. If you wait for that ideal situation, you might grow old and have nothing published. Work with what you have. What is ideal for one writer may not be for six others. Writers are individuals. They work differently and under varied conditions. 

So don't use the excuse of not having an ideal situation in which to write. It is, after all, an excuse and not a valid one. 

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