Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Sit Spot

What the Robin Knows, by Jon Young, stresses the importance of a “sit spot” for observing and learning bird language and behavior.

Can a sit spot help a writer connect to his/her characters?

According to the Wilderness Awareness School, The Sit Spot is the practice of going to one spot in nature over a period of time. 

My first experience with sit spots was at a nature camp in North Carolina’s Piedmont region. The first time I tried this practice, it took me a while to get comfortable on the rocky ground. 

Once I stopped thinking about myself, I began to see, hear, and feel the life all around me. As I returned to my sit spot daily, I observed more and more. 

As writers, the sit spot can be a great way to observe and learn about the age group you are writing for.  

Writing a picture book with a 4-year-old protagonist? Hang out at the playground. 

Is your YA novel about a sixteen-year-old? Go to a high school sports event or your local mall. 

Besides feeling more connected to your community, you can mold your observations into characters that spring to life on the page. 

I recently found a sit spot at my local park for birdwatching. I’m now searching for a spot for writing (and sketching). 

Do you have a writing “sit spot”?


  1. Great post. I don't have a "sit spot" for writing that is outdoors. I may need to remedy that. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. For close to two months of the year, my "sit spot" is in a quiet Maine cove with views of open ocean. I haven't found a spot close here in N.J. Maybe someday, but doubt anything could match the Maine one.

  3. Gale- It's great to have such a sense of connection with a place. Has your Maine sit spot inspired the setting for any of your books or stories?

  4. Linda- You may also think of an indoor sit spot, like the food court at the mall. It's a great place to observe possible middle grade protagonists. Plus it's just plain fun to people watch. Europe has got a step up on us with their public squares.

  5. Sharon,
    Yes, indeed. It inspired my picture book Pajama Light that's set in Maine and describes a walk we often took with our young children from the house to the "outer ledges."

  6. Great idea. I need to find one and make great use of it.