Can you write anywhere? If I were to put you on the top of a mountain, in the freezing cold and unbearable wind, would you be able to write? What about on the side of a busy freeway? In a soundless room with no hint of other human existence?
It’s amazing how different people can be, displayed through our quirks and preferences. That’s what makes art so damn exciting: no two people will ever produce the same exact same piece of work. Applied to writing, you can have two people write a story about identical topics and find them to be marvelously different. Yet no matter how you twist it, 2 + 2 will always equal 4. No room for creativity there.
But I digress. To get back on track, we are all writers but we are still so different. When looking at the ideal environment to complete our craft, there is no one answer. Silence may drive you crazy, while noise can be a word-killer. The same can go for moods. I’m sure there are people out there who find their best writing happens during the down times of life, when anger, sorrow, or even fear has gotten the best of them and putting pen to paper is the only way for relief. Yet for some, sour emotions can be the worst writer’s block, where bad experiences act more as inspiration that can only be tapped in to during happier times.
As for me, I’m at Whole Foods, more specifically in a cafe within a Whole Foods. In front of me is a window and across the street is a 7-Eleven. Between us, a line of cars go about their lives. Around me I hear scant sounds blended in to chatter. If I listen well enough, I can pick up a word or two, but not much else. Boop, boop–the checkout line. Over the speakers, some song I’ve never heard of is playing. It sounds like a mix of country and a something off the ‘Grease’ soundtrack. My chair has no back.
I can write here. But I can’t write when the TV is on. Or when friends are over. Technically, the amount of noise could be ten times lighter in the confines of my own home, but if there is something specific for me to tune in to, my attention to writing will be shot. Any attempt at progress will be futile. Usually a certain sentence will replay in my head, over and over, paralyzing my thought process because my brain is too caught up with the disturbances of the background world. Or maybe I’ve made the mistake of connecting to the Internet: whenever I pause in my writing, my hand will automatically trace my mouse down to the Firefox tab, and then the rest is history.
That’s just me. As we’ve established, I’m sure you have your own story. Finding your ideal environment is very important to your career as a writer. Sure, being able to write anywhere, anytime, under any circumstance is a cool gift, but for us mortals it isn’t that simple. We have our preferences, our annoyances, and our ideal settings where we can work our best. Once you find what that is, you can increase the quality of your writing, your enjoyment while doing it, and hopefully even get past the worst of writing blocks.
In the same light, it would be a good idea to come up with a ‘thinking routine.’ This is something separate from writing because when you’re looking at the page you need to fill with words and thoughts, it may not be the best time to conquer frustration. For example, a guy I’m working on a screenplay with goes on 4-hour drives to iron out the kinks in his stories. I did the same type of thing once or twice and by the end I had a lot more figured out then when I started and couldn’t wait to put it to paper.
Moral of the story: if you’re finding it hard to right, maybe you haven’t got the environment down yet. Keep searching and try new things, even stuff that sounds ridiculous. At the end of the day, this isn’t a normal hobby, so why should you think about it in a normal way?