Your Writing Sanctuary and/or Shack
by Bryan Cohen
I sat on the blacktop of my dorm's basketball court, surrounded by construction noise when I realized that I could write anywhere. I don't know what it was I was scrawling on a piece of looseleaf that day, as my fellow classmates looked at me like I was crazy, but the machines were doing their work and so was I. That was over a decade ago, and yet it was one of the most important lessons I ever internalized. I didn't write my first book in an office. I wrote it in other peoples' offices during temp jobs. I put together some of it in my "economy studio" in which my office was the same room as my kitchen and my bedroom. I later put the finishing touches on the book on top of a luxurious $100 table my wife and I bought from Target. My writing time was inconsistent and erratic but I got it done wherever I could.
I think some writers put too much emphasis on finding their writing sanctuary: the perfect place to make their novel or non-fiction a reality. There's some merit to locating a place where you feel less distracted and blocked. I wrote part of my first book on an inherited queen size bed I later had to toss out because of bed bugs. I wrote my latest half in my office and half in my favorite, quiet, gluten-free pastry shop. Finding the right locations for writing made an impact, but the major difference between my first and latest book is me.
I grew from writing in all those different places. I improved by putting in more time and absorbing the different energies around me as I wrote. I think I needed to write in that tiny studio with the giant window that let out nearly all of my radiator heat during the Chicago winter. I had to reinforce the knowledge that writing could take place anywhere and under any condition. I still get writers block, like any other writer, but I've learned the lesson that I can find my writing sanitary or shack anywhere. Am I out of inspiration in my office? It's time to go to the coffee shop! Coffee shop too crowded? I'll try taking a trip to the edge of Lake Michigan. Or the back seat of my wife's parked car. Or even a bench located underneath the growling Chicago Transit Authority elevated train tracks.
If you can make your hallowed writing ground anywhere, there's no such thing as writers block. The next 500 words may be right around the corner. All you need to do is move.
About the Author
In honor of his new book, Cohen is hosting the “1,000 Prompts, 1,000 Dollars" Writing Contest on his website. Click the link to find out how to enter!
Bryan Cohen is an author, a creativity coach and an actor. His new book, 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2: More Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More is now available on Amazon in digital and paperback format. His other books include 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, The Post-College Guide to Happiness, and Ted Saves the World. He has published over 30 books, which have sold more than 20,000 copies in total. Connect with him on his website, Build Creative Writing Ideas, on Facebook or on Twitter.
My sincere thanks to Bryan for his words of wisdom and offering such a generous opportunity to enrich writers and readers.