By the time this blog post goes live today, I’ll be standing in line at the airport waiting to catch a plane to Atlanta. I’m headed there for a week for a trade show for work. It’s a lot of hard work and very long days on my feet but it’s also a nice change of pace from being in the office the rest of the year. And though I don’t care much for dealing with the airport, since I don’t get to travel much that part of the job is nice too.
I always carry my laptop with me, but it’s used mostly to stay caught up on work email or to kill some time in the evenings staying caught up on Facebook. Sadly, it’s never used for writing. You’d think that late evenings spent in a hotel room would be the perfect place to pound out some pages, and I would agree with that but it just doesn’t work that way with me.
First, while waiting in the airport there are just too many distractions and the people watching is just too good to miss out on. I’m lucky if I can focus on reading a book for very long, so I always travel with a paperback book for this reason. And I never use my laptop on the plane for some reason. Again, I just read my paperback or I might pull out my Kindle on the plane to kill some time with internet surfing or a game.
Second, I’m usually just too tired to write. It’s always impossible for me to get a good night’s rest on the first night in a place where I’ve never been before. I never sleep well the first night. And the only reason I probably sleep well the other nights is because of all of the exhaustion from the lack of sleep that first night! So I settle for reading or mindless TV watching until I fall asleep. Working 12 hour days setting up for the trade show, and then working the show itself certainly adds to the exhaustion.
My point here is that I cannot write when I’m outside of my element or outside of my comfort zone. That being sitting at my desk in my office at home. I’ve known other writers who thrived on the energy of being out in the world. They could write anywhere…the library, airports, or at Starbucks. Not me. I just can’t. I admit I haven’t tried it very much, so maybe I should at least attempt it. But even the thought of it makes me uncomfortable for some reason.
I’m probably worried people are watching me, even though I know they aren’t. Or I’m afraid they are going to ask what I’m writing, especially that person sitting next to me on the plane, though I’ve sat next to tons of people with laptops and not once have I ever asked them what they were doing. It’s human nature to think that others are watching us, right?
Let’s add to this that I’m most creative in the mornings when I first wake up. I grab the coffee and sit down at the computer and my thoughts come alive. There have been exceptions at times, but I usually do my best in the mornings before I start the day.
I have done some great brainstorming out on the road. I always travel with a notepad and pen so I can take notes or write things down, but that’s the extent of it. Maybe I’ll try to change that this time, even if I only wrote a few pages. I may not be mentally able to accomplish much at night, but I could certainly try to focus a bit on writing in the mornings when I first wake up. Hopefully my room will have a good view of downtown Atlanta.
What about you? Do you have to be in your comfort zone to write? Or can you write anywhere? Where is your favorite place to write and when do you like to write there?
Definitely have to be in a comfort zone to write. I’ve never understood people who write in cafes. Perhaps it’s because I go into a bit of an altered state…
The weirdest thing I read along these lines was Gillian Flynn saying she wrote “Gone Girl” in the bathtub!