Friday, August 12, 2011

I Need to Live Away from Home

Greetings from Cape Cod. There's a bluebird sky, the beach is just across the way, and my head feels clearer than it has all year. It's a perfect time to write or just ideate, as my friend Josh calls it. Give me a notebook, a pen, and a beach chair--the Cape is my laptop-free zone--and I'm more productive as a writer than I am on too many days at home.

At home, between work and kid-rearing, life is so scheduled, so damn busy, I'm always fighting a necessary slew of distractions, just like you, I'll bet. But on vacation, I have the time, and feel the inner peace I need to really think. Frankly, I wish my entire life could be one long vacation, that I could live away from home. Then I'd be enviably productive and prolific, or so I like to think. But I guess that's impossible, an oxymoron.

When I get home, what I need to do is find a good go-to place, so I can keep this writing momentum going. I've never been able to do this. The local library is too noisy. Starbucks is too noisy. I practically need a vacuum-sealed environment, to shut everything out, and that's hard to find, especially in the New York-metro area. But where to go?

Hey, Papers Waiters, if anyone out there has found a good writing haven, could you please let me know? I'm not looking for the exact location--no hostile takeovers intended!--but a general idea that's not a lending library or an espresso bar.

For now, it's back to the beach, pen in hand. I hope you're all enjoying some sea air and big word counts this summer. Cheers.


  1. J.L.,
    Here's my suggestion: Take an honest look at your day. Where do you find the most peace and quiet? Maybe you can make an appointment to spend an extra half an hour to an hour a day there. For example, maybe you could stay an extra hour at your work setting, if that's possible, assuming you have a quiet spot there. If this isn't pratical, give thanks for the quiet writing moments you do get each day and try to increase the minutes a little at a time. Take heart. It's possible that life's interruptions may inspire your next book idea and not the quiet.

    Good luck to you! Happy writing!

    Linda A.

  2. When weather permits, and you have alone time, how about packing up some bug spray, a folding chair and finding a quiet spot in a park?

    A lot of preconditions there, but possible sometime?

  3. vacations have been quite the opposite! Although I do admit to having ideas sort of free-flowing in my mind, I rarely have the time to write them down. Your vacay sounds so relaxing!

    I would second Linda A's advice and see if you can pinpoint an hour or so where you know you will have the peace and quiet you need. What about (gulp) getting up in the wee hours of the morning before everyone in your house is awake? (or after everyone has gone to bed) Dark circles are a small price to pay, lol.

    I just visited one of my "happy places" and I always get a souvenir that I can look at and sort of conjure up that more relaxed frame of mind. The wind chimes (relaxing tinkly kind) in my yard are from Cape May and sometimes just looking at them can bring up the relaxing times I've spent there. A mug...I know sounds really silly, but something to connect me to a more peaceful time or place works for me.

    Keep writing, find the time, you are too talented not to do that!!

  4. I find that all I really need is a place with no internet connection...

  5. Linda: Thanks for your thoughtful comment. It inspired me!

    Gale: Good idea. If the rain ever stops, I'll try it. If not, maybe I'll bring a canoe.

    Robin: Thanks for your equally good advice, and for the kind words! You're a great support.

    J.A.: There's no internet connection at the beach. Yay!

    Thanks to all for taking the time to chime in.

  6. Well, I spent the summer in Italy, which overloaded me with inspiration. The trouble is how to maintain and work with that at home? I keep meaning to go for a hike and write by a stream or something, but haven't yet.

    I also did a lot more notebook, pen and paper writing in Italy, and I want to keep up that habit at home.

    So difficult! But I do believe travel refreshes the creative spirit, regardless of whether it can be maintained in exactly the same form at home.