Earlier this year I asked a group of poets questions about their writing processes, and am using my guest blogging spot here to show how there are similarities and differences amongst writers committed to their work.
Today’s question is, ‘Where do you write? Are there particular places or situations that spark off your writing?’
Perhaps I’m a portable poet, as I consciously try to write anywhere. I’m often reminded of the start of a chapter in ‘Writing Down the Bones’ by Natalie Goldberg. She makes a list of chaotic things that might be happening to you at this very moment:
‘Your feet are swollen, you need to make a dentist appointment, the dog needs to be let out, you have to defrost the chicken and make a phone call to your cousin…’
But at the end of the list, she says:
‘Take out another notebook, pick up another pen, and just write, just write, just write…In the centre of chaos, make one definitive act.’
This can be a real challenge – but, I’d argue, a necessity.
Does this mean that when days are quieter there’s too much space, too much opportunity for distraction? Some of the poets who responded to this question don’t think so. Chris Kinsey says, ‘Stimulating things usually happen on days without expectation.’ Judith Blakemore-Lawton says that she writes ‘sometimes in our campervan or somewhere very atmospheric and relaxing.’ And Mavis Gulliver says, ‘I need quiet.’
For others, busy environments provide just enough life and noise to keep that inner censor quiet. Juli Jana writes on ‘buses, trains, (in) cafes’.
And sometimes, an opportunity just has to be taken – Juliet Wilson has been known to write ‘in the middle of a snowstorm’.
Tomorrow – Who do you write for?