Friday, February 25, 2011

Setting the Scene

So I started wondering the other night--does a writer's environment affect their productivity?

I wanted to say no at first. But then I thought about my most productive years of writing. They were in college where I was writing not one, but two novels at the same time. How one manages to write two novels while keeping up with 15 to 18 hours of coursework, I will never know. But I did it, and most happily. So what was the secret to my success?

Where I lived.

Courtesy of Historic Charleston Real Estate
I was lucky enough to attend college in Charleston, South Carolina, where the weather is absolutely gorgeous in the fall and spring, and completely heinous in the summer. As one of my professors said, "The early colonists must have thought they had landed in Heaven when they first arrived--at least until summer came and they thought they were in Hell."

Despite the rather hellacious temperatures, Charleston has atmosphere to spare. No wonder I was able to spend hours on end writing. In fact, inspiration came from my many walks through the historic district, taking in the centuries old architecture and beautiful gardens. Those were the days when I could mental write during my walks and promptly go back to my apartment and put it down on paper.

But since then, and until recently, my writing has been sporadic at best. No wonder it took me 10 years to finish The Enemy Within. After college, I went back to my hometown in upstate South Carolina, followed by a stint in Atlanta, then back to South Carolina, and then outside of Charlotte, and finally my current location which is about as inspiring as a stick in the mud.

Courtesy of Globus Journeys
I recently applied for a job in New Orleans, and while there is no way I can possibly predict the outcome (especially now with the current job crisis), I allowed myself to think about the possibilities of writing in such an atmospheric climate. How fabulous would it be to have a writing spot on a gallery overlooking a street in the French Quarter? Now that's inspiration!

So can you write anywhere, at any time, or do you need a little atmosphere to be at your most creative?


1 comment:

  1. I'm lucky enough to live in tropical Queensland, but I don't take advantage of it like I should. Instead of smacking my head against the computer when I'm stuck, I should be lacing on my shoes and going for a walk along The Strand, getting some sea air and looking out across the bay to Magnetic Island. Having said that, it's sometimes a real shame I live here because I love old cities with historical buildings. I can't afford to live in one, but I love them!