Monday, February 8, 2010

The Power of Place

So I was feeling stupid for including the list of "Flow-encouraging Places" here. This is a writing blog, not Facebook. Who cares where I've been? So I was feeling embarrassed and amateurish until the end of the week when I noticed that I had clicked on at least some of the links everyday. And that they gave me a little peace.

I've spent significant amounts of time in all those "Flow-encouraging Places" (except for Village Books in Bellingham, Washington - that's a new find) and when I've been in those places I've been able to turn down the volume of my mind and get better at just being. And when my mind is quieter my writing is better. I've spent too much time forcing projects along because I'd somehow decided they were something I should do. Luckily I've had friends around to tip me off that my eyes light up when I talk about that other project I've put on hold. "Just follow your energy" someone in a writing group once said.

Even better, my main crit partner gave me a bamboo plant to remind me of a book that she can tell I'm the most excited about but keep thinking I should do later.

All this is to say that I'm glad I put "Flow-encouraging Places" on the blog because now I go to some of those pictures and chill out and then start writing. So far so good.

What do others do to get settled before writing? If "getting settled" isn't a priority, then what gets you going?

Here's a photo from last week's walk in nature

Monday Meeting: Goals for the week of 2/8/10:

YA novel
  • Send 1st 50 pages to 2 new readers
Middle grade novel
  • Revise 1st chapter and send to writing partner
  • Trim the bamboo plant
Strengthening the center
  • Meditate at beginning of day just before starting to write
  • Two walks in nature
(PS - don't know why the date says Sunday, I'm posting at 12:28 AM Tues 2/9)


  1. Robert--If I can't be outside, then many times I prefer to be at home. To me, that is flow encouraging--as long as I have music to set the "mood". Although, when talking with others, I very much prefer Andala :-) or Java Jim's. I like to be in familiar environments, and to not get distracted by people watching. Although, recently I have been thinking about working at WVC--so I guess that feels like home to me as well.

    Thanks for the awesome chat yesterday. Breakthrough city for me.

    (and you might want to change your post date so that the post comes on-line at the time your posting it, not the time you began writing it. Otherwise, it gets lost in the blogroll, and I, for one, might miss it.)

  2. I like the realization you came to. It's your site, do what you want. Other sites have baubles and doodads all over the place (mine) and I try to delete one a week, but something else always replaces it.

    Great goals again, especially the two walks in nature one, if that photo is what you see each time!

  3. Many mornings I start writing shortly after waking up. The background photo on my computer is a boardwalk leading into a birch forest. That helps me focus on writing as journey.

    But I need exercise and outdoor time to keep me going thru the day.

    I see Point Reyes listed as one of your flow places. I've been backpacking there a few times. I love that place. Once time I backpacked in to wild cat beach and did a three day fast and lots of journal writing.

  4. You ask good questions!! Checking blogs doesn't work, I have to say that much. Heather and my schedule is nice because, blogs and other things are just off limits for me. I have taken to trying to write down my dream as the tea water is boiling and that seems to be a nice way in. (I never uses to remember my dreams. Mind you, I have barely been doing this. The last three days maybe.)

  5. Heather - yes, music! After setting the mood w/music, do you write while listening? For me, I find it difficult to write to music - but it gets me through adding written edits on the computer.

    Yup, great chat. Reread middle grade chapter 1 w/new eyes.

  6. Jonathan - Thanks for the reminder & the wisdom - it is my site (and yours is yours) & we do what we want. The photo was an hour away in the Cascade mountains. This week's walk will be closer by.

  7. Paul - how awesome is Point Reyes! You could write during a three day fast? Wow. I get food crank so easily that I can't imagine... Was the zone different in the middle of a fast? Wow...

    Tina - tea water & dreams... fantastic, the subconscious bubbling up!

  8. Robert--I do write while listening to music--but it's so familiar that it's like white noise. And then, I come up from writing and hear a specific word or melody, and it's inspiring again.

  9. Heather, I like that, music as white noise until the write moment arrives. I'll give it a try.

  10. I need to keep balance in my life that's for sure. I think that's what helps me the most.

  11. With a gorgeous view like that I'd be too distracted to do anything. I've always wanted to visit WA, it's got to be one of the most beautiful parts of the US (from what I've seen in pictures). Your YA novel sounds interesting, care to share a little bit more? Don't feel stupid for including "Flow-encouraging Places", it says a lot about who you are as a person (makes the blog seem more personal). I never "get settled" before writing, I prefer writing when I'm really unsettled ;) But then I'm not a writer like you guys.

  12. Laura - Balance... I'm a big fan of balance, which very much is not my natural state. I admire you guys who are better at cultivating it.

  13. Charlie - WA is beautiful. We've only been here one month and I'm constantly stunned.

    Here's the briefest description of my YA novel: In "Romeo, Romeo", Zeph has been having a secret relationship with a guy at school, and all’s great, until he becomes friends with Tim, who doesn’t like keeping anything secret.

    I've just finished a revision & a couple people are reading the 1st 50 pages. More readers are always great...

    Very cool that you can write while unsettled. That's a skill I've never acquired. BTW, you write, therefore you are "a writer like you guys". :)

  14. Elana - Welcome & thanks for joining!

  15. Oh, it sounds great! If you ever want honest feedback from someone in the 11th grade then I'd love to read it, or as much as you'd like to share.

  16. Charlie - It's great that you'd like to read it. A GSA outside Boston read the 1st 50 pages of the last draft & they were great. How about you email me at then I could send it to you. Thanks! Honest feedback from an 11th grader would be perfect. The 3 main characters happen to be juniors.

  17. Hot tea and warm water get me going. Sometimes I look at blogs between scenes, even though it's probably not a good idea.

    I like your goals.

  18. Anita - Yay on tea! I could add about 10 more cafes on my "Flow-encouraging Places" list.

  19. What better perspective than Charlie's?! I am dreaming of high school days...anyone have a time machine, just let me grab my computer and WiP's. I can be published before I'm even out of high school, again. Whoa, my phone will be so advanced for ten years ago!

  20. Where's the angel guy from "17 Again"?