Change of Venue

Everyone needs a little change of pace now and again, and it’s doubly true for an artist. While many of us may find some measure of inspiration in our daily lives, there is little more energizing than a change of setting. Away from our usual locale, we may find ourselves less hampered by intrusions and extraneous activities and more able to give ourselves over to our muse. In the end, a trip away from home may be just what the doctor ordered to get a writer back on track and into a productive mindset.

Even as a child I enjoyed writing outside. While I can get a bit wordy and floral in my descriptions, I have always found nature to be a bit of a natural boost to my creativity.

I’m currently sitting at the base of an old cedar in a grove of similar trees. I’m surrounded by wetland. The combination of water and layers of decomposing organic material makes the ground just soft enough to give a little under my feet. The mosquitoes have finally forgotten I’m here. Ants and daddy-longlegs are running around me in their usual scurry of daily life. In the distance I can hear the calls of a variety of birds, some chirp, others whistle, and the annoying ones squawk. When the breeze blows through, I can smell the lake and the pine turpines. When it’s calm, I can smell the damp earth and rotting pine needles. I saw two deer on my walk here. I am aware of but can ignore the occasional buzz of a motorboat speeding across the nearby lake.

In the past four days my productivity has increased dramatically. I wrote a short story in a single sitting, and started a second new story as well. I’ve edited two older shorts that I’ve been hanging on to for months. Sometimes editing is more difficult than creating, and the writer can face it with a foreboding sense of dread. There’s no one here to bother me, so I can work undisturbed in a place that motivates and inspires me.

Every artist runs into disruptions and life issues that compete with their art for time. It’s likely the single most aggravating aspect of being an artist. No one will let you alone to do your thing. Sometimes getting away from it all is not only a solution, but a necessity. How are we to succeed if we can’t get any work done? If we’re not creating something, we’re generally an unhappy lot. I know I don’t sleep well if I haven’t been writing. The ideas keep me awake. It’s in the best interest of my sanity, and my family’s happiness, that I get the chance to prove to myself every now and again, that I really am a writer, and I really would accomplish a lot if I didn’t have to be involved with the rest of the world.

For some it is the fast pace of a city, for others it’s the calm of wilderness, but for most of us, any change of venue is enough to get us going. When you start to get frustrated because you’re not doing the things you most want, it may be time to take a break from the rest of the world. Leave the dog with family, trade babysitting with the neighbors, be selfish and find the place that helps you write. And never forget that it’s there.

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Author of adult and young adult speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, dark fiction)

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