35. The Geographic Cure
A young writer who is between jobs and so, for now, has the luxury to write at least a little every day asked me recently for advice about taking his practice beyond musings on his daily life, beyond what are essentially journal entries—not that there’s anything wrong with journal entries.
Without thinking too hard about it, I found myself recommending a change of location, something it so happens I’ve been trying myself. It’s one thing to have a favorite writing space, whether a home office or a coffee shop, but had he thought about writing in a different place every day—a different spot in his house (chair, room, corner, window, view), a different park at lunchtime? Or a library one day, a bar the next, followed by a scenic overlook, a museum after that?
It doesn’t have to be new literally every time, but the idea is not to restrict yourself to the same place every time. If you’re unable to go too far afield, consider, say, four or five that you alternate regularly. Not only might the change of scene trigger thoughts beyond what you had for breakfast, but training yourself to write amid a variety of distraction levels can have value. (I’m writing this at the car dealership as ’80s pop plays—okay, neither planned nor ideal for me.)
If it doesn’t work, you can always go back to where you started. And begin again.