Writing Forecast: It’s seventy degrees and sunny out, with a nice, cool breeze to occasionally ruffle my pages and remind me it’s spring. It’s the perfect day for writing outside.
Usually about once a week I run into the same problem: Where can I write that’s not too loud, but not too quiet; not too busy, but not too empty; not too cramped, but not too open? Many writers have a set time and place to write every day, and the system has its merits for sure. But often I find myself restlessly wandering about campus, searching for a place to write. No, not a place; the perfect place. After undergoing this process several times, here are some of the things I like to consider to ensure that the scenery fits the story.
Am I typing or handwriting?
There are few things I can think of that are more therapeutic that scribbling in a notebook outside on a warm, sunny day. But writing by hand on paper and typing on a laptop are two different beasts. Computers and nature rarely mix well, and fighting with the glare of the sun on your screen can become very frustrating very quickly. Even if you are handwriting, always, always check the forecast. Rain doesn’t agree with paper or technology, and if it’s breezy, be sure to safely secure your pages.
Do I know what I’m going to write?
If I already have some planning done on a piece, or even just a vague direction, I usually prefer someplace quiet like a library. Quiet, but never silent, as distractions can come from within your own head as much as they come from without. When freewriting or scouting for inspiration however, busy, bustling places are a gold mine of ideas. By watching people as they walk by and listening to what they say, you might just find something to spark your next big project.
Am I planning or revising?
Every writer I know has some kind of desk space personalized to fit their writing needs. (Mine is currently a cramped and cluttered desk tucked in the corner of a cramped and cluttered dorm room.) While I usually like to escape this cinder-block cell to someplace with the space for my thoughts, revision is the one stage where I absolutely must be at my desk. I need my laptop open amongst strewn about sticky notes and notebooks, with Strunk & White within easy reach. While my writing desk may not be where most of my projects begin, it is where all of them end.
It’s the perfect day for writing outside, and for now a bench in the shade will suffice (though the comfy-looking armchairs and background chatter of the student union building beckon me).