I am currently listening to the audio book of American Gods on my daily commute. (I'm all about listening to audio books in the car, by the way. What better a way to prep for the day than to lose yourself for a spell in the works of great authors like Neil Gaiman?)
In the introduction, read by Mr. Gaiman himself, he talked about all the different places he wrote the original draft of American Gods. This really made me think. Reading and writing are all about traveling to other worlds. I can be in space while I'm sitting waiting for the bus, or trekking through Middle Earth while in a noisy cafe.
Much of my latest novel (set to come out in February--look for an announcement soon!) was written either on my couch with a cup of tea or at the local county library. My sister spent the last two years in Virginia getting her Masters in piano performance at James Madison University. I would talk to her about my WIP and my main character, Iago, and all of his adventures. The first time she visited my apartment after returning to Ohio, she looked into the living room and said, "So, this is where Iago was born."
My living room--the utter mess that it is--was indeed where much of Iago's story was written. It's not a very inspiring place. It's unfortunately dark, and I'm usually surrounded by empty tea cups. All the same, I've had so many fruitful and exciting writing sessions there.
But is there a benefit to writing in new and different places? And what about reading?
If anything, there's a certain feeling of inspiration that can come with writing in different places. I'm not saying that every author should book a plane ticket every weekend and go write at the Grand Canyon. I merely mean that switching settings might keep things fresh. On Saturdays, visit the library. On Tuesdays, check out that cafe down the street. There's a short story in Thoroughly Modern Monsters that I wrote in the car at a local park after stumbling upon an old graveyard. (Be ready to write everywhere.)
I feel like reading can be the same way. I often connect the places where I read books with the books themselves. Frankenstein, for example, will always remind me of the various reading rooms and hidden nooks at Ohio State. It enriches the experience, somehow. When I think of the book, it takes me on a little trip in my mind.
I'm currently 20,000 words into my next manuscript (a tale that, though it focuses primarily on another character, still features Iago--I can't get rid of him yet). I'm making a pledge to write that manuscript in as many different places as possible. It's a bit of a challenge, I guess. I want to see if it has any effect on my process at all. And, of course, every writer is different, just like every reader is different.
Today, I plan on visiting the Columbus Museum of Art.
And what about you, dear reader? Do you value a change of scenery? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time,