If you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you’ll know that Sheldon Cooper is particular about which seat he chooses, particularly in his own apartment. Writers can be similarly picky about where they pen their works.
Among my writer friends alone, there is one who writes better with absolute silence and another who penned most of her novel in a noisy student pub. There is no right or wrong way. For my own part, I’m typing this entry in one of my favourite places: at the bottom end of my bed, standing with my back to the window. But when I’m stuck on a project, I sit on the mezzanine floor of a particular cafe in town and it usually unblocks my flow.
On Saturday, I was given the opportunity to attend a one-off writing group at the secluded Barry Mill near Carnoustie to raise funds for its restoration. After a tour and a demonstration of its working waterwheel and machinery, the nine or so attendees followed the stream back to the weir through acres of wild flora.
The tranquillity, location and history of the place was supposed to serve as inspiration for a poem or prose piece – and it worked. It took me some time to put something together, but I managed to write three verses, using the mill as a starting point, and nearly everyone had written something for reading out. It didn’t help, however, that it was raining onto our notepads for much of the visit, or that two of the chairs collapsed – mine included – before the session even began.
So if you feel your writing is becoming a little stale, try going somewhere else. Not everyone is able to escape to the countryside, of course, but it might work even to move location within the same general area or even the same building. Before I discovered my current spots, I experimented with a number of places before finding one that felt just right.
I’ll leave you with an electronic postcard of Barry Mill.