Finding Your Writing Place

Writing places are important, and there is a reason for this. As animals, we like to fall into the groove of routine. It makes things easier on our brains. A habit puts us in mode and eliminates the need to waste energy on making decisions.

It may be a particular corner of the house, a Starbucks, or your closet. But if you write there frequently, you will notice that once you get there, you are more likely to be ready (or ready as you’ll ever be when it comes to writing).

I’ve felt creatively blocked, which is unusual for me. I think it’s because I’m in limbo. I’m still stuck in Florida due to airport closures that keep getting extended and I don’t know when I’ll really be able to go home.

This sense of waiting is branching off into my writing. Psychologically, everything is on pause. It’s like I am holding back until life flows freely again.

I know many writers feel the same right now. Many people are waiting to see when they can get back to work, go back to school, or just live life normally again. It’s like we’re holding our breath, words muted by masks, hands forbidden from reaching out to touch those we love.

Being absorbed with creating stories is usually a great way of coping with stressful situations, but in my case lately, it has not been. Of course, the pandemic is a crazy situation that is still sometimes hard to comprehend. I’ve thrown myself into work, which involves an industrious get-things-done energy, but when it comes fiction, a stubborn barrier stands between me and the unconscious creative source.

One of the reasons I think this could be is that I do not have my writing place. At home in Panama, the home office is for work only. When I write, I come out to the dining room with my dogs where there is a huge picture window that frames the mountains. In between sentences, I rest my eyes on the panorama as I wait for the whisper of the muses. They speak to me in the parade of clouds over the mountain peaks, the sway of the trees in the breeze, the songs of the birds flitting about. All is wild and boundless.

But since February, I’ve been staying with my family. I live and work in a pleasant little guest room. But I spend 90% of my day in the same spot. I sleep here, work here, practice yoga here, watch Amazon Prime here, video chat with my husband here, and I tried to write here. But nothing happened. I think this confinement is why I’ve had such trouble connecting with new ideas.

But I have finally broken the curse. We’ve begun Zoom write-ins twice a week in the Writers’ Mastermind. These Zoom meetings are where writers from all over the world get together online for an hour of undistracted writing time.

This write-in ritual has given me the routine my brain was looking for. I get some tea, close all fifty-seven of my browser tabs, open my document. I log onto Zoom and check in with everyone. Then we all go on mute and get to work. Afterward, we all stay for a quick chat and to trade resources and advice.

Getting past the writers’ block is an uphill slog, but working alongside fellow writers in this virtual space made me motivated and inspired to push through the resistance. These meetings have become my new “writing place.”

Designating a writing place is an effective way to get your head in the game, but sometimes we don’t have the choice of an ideal place. If we want to get any writing done, we have to squeeze it in on the train, or in the middle of the night, or on lunch break, or in a noisy household. I heard about a mother who sat on top of her refrigerator to work so she could supervise her children from above without being visible.

We have to be adaptable and write wherever we find ourselves or how we find ourselves mentally or physically. If we always wait until we feel like it, we will accomplish little. If something’s not working, we must explore new ways to create the best conditions for ourselves.

Happy Writing wherever you may be!


Where was the most unusual place you’ve written in?

Where is the best place for you to write?

Do write better on the move or in one spot? In a public place or private?


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