Monday, January 31, 2011

A Change of Scene

by Grace Bridges

It's amazing what a change of scene can do for a writer's tired brain. I've just been away for a couple of weeks' summer break, and have found myself refreshed for the tasks ahead.

My inspiration comes from the sea. But I can see that from my desk at home, too. So what's the difference? I think it has become very difficult to write at home because of multiple distractions inherent in living someplace.

I can't rush off and take a trip every time my writing suffers, though! I began to consider what steps I might take to eliminate distractions at home. Here are a couple of things that are working quite well for me at the moment:

  • No desk. That's right, just set the laptop on the lap it was built for (on a lap tray so you don't get hot legs from the fan), and sit on a chair in the middle of the room. I even found an armless one to be best, because that means the only place for my hands to be is on the keyboard. Instant increased productivity.
  • Failing that, the desk must be clear of clutter at all times. No to-do lists, no bills to be paid, no books to read, no munchies. Nothing. And don't give in to the temptation to put anything there. I have now reserved a place for things that need my attention - far away behind me on the other side of the room where they can't interrupt me.
  • Long walks. An hour or two a day does wonders for perking up the imagination, to say nothing of the health benefits.
In these small ways I try to change the scene even when I spend most of my life in my bedroom office. Let's make this a life worth living. Let's kill procrastination and reach those goals we've set ourselves, by removing all obstacles - even if one of those is the familiar home we sit in and the detritus of decades on this planet.

What can you do to change your scene today?


  1. Like you I find going for a walk or a run can do wonders to get writer's block moving along.

    It used to also be a nice long bath but alas I no longer live in a house with one!

  2. Procrastination! Now why did you have to use that word today, Grace? Just what I know I've been doing all morning. A great post and time I too changed my "scene" and left this office as other commitments are calling. Thank you for some challenging thoughts.

  3. Grace, That makes me think of early days of my writing when I read an article recommending somewhat frequent breaks away from the typewriter. (Yes, typewriter.) I just smiled. I had a baby. I got frequent breaks changing diapers. Now i have to be appreciative when my husband, whose office is also at home, comes in and suggests that we have a cup of tea or go for a walk. Soon it will be gardening time again--no better change of pace than that.

  4. It is reassuring to hear what works for other writers. Definitely agree with you re going for a walk, preferably before writing. I also prefer to start writing in the morning - the theory being that by nightfall the brain will be tired and ready for shut down and enable me get some sleep! Good luck with your writing. J

  5. I also find the laptop works for me. I often take it outside and sit on the stoep, and prop it on my lap (yes, on a tray). Even though I can see people walking by and occasionally get interrupted there's something about the change of location that helps me to get creative.