Random Inspirations

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On Location: 5 Writing Locations to Stimulate Creativity

on April 9, 2014

As writers, we all have goals–writing quotas, so to speak. We want to write x number of words by y timeframe, or x number of chapters in said timeframe. I’m no different. When I’m writing my Amish novellas, my goal is a hard and fast two chapters per day. This gives me enough time to work on my other projects, social media, and promotions, and it also ensures that I’ll finish one Amish novella per month. It’s especially important when I’m writing the Amish in College series, because these novellas have a good twenty pages on the Amish Hearts books.

Last week, however, I crushed this goal–but it wasn’t by accident. One of my birthday presents from Antonio was a membership to Hera Hub, an organization for female entrepreneurs who usually work from home. Hera Hub is a physical location where business owners in various industries can network with each other and attend events such as writing workshops and business boosters. The work space is open and inviting, decorated like a spa, and encourages community and productivity.

I went to Hera Hub three times last week, and each time, I got a ton of writing done. I wrote one extra chapter per day on my Hera Hub days. True, I was exhausted by Friday–I’d basically tired out my brain. But even taking the entire day Friday off from writing, I’d still written an extra chapter above and beyond my weekly goals.

This got me thinking…first of all about how great of a work environment Hera Hub is, but also about how writing from other locations besides the home office can stimulate creativity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible to be super creative from the home office, and that’s still where I do the majority of my work. But it’s also ah-mazing to work from different locations, since newness makes you more innovative.

So many ways to increase creativity...so little time! Picture courtesy of ljsilentg.com

So many ways to increase creativity…so little time! Picture courtesy of ljsilentg.com

Here are 5 away-from-home writing environments that have sparked my creativity. I hope they work for you!

  1. Local workspaces – Office-style workspaces, such as Hera Hub, are the perfect places to get out of your writing doldrums. The environment, the people, and events such as writing workshops jack up creativity and productivity. Being surrounded by other entrepreneurs, some of them writers, fuels your spirit and your writing. So far, Hera Hub is found in the San Diego area, but there is talk of expanding and franchising. Check out your area for similar workspaces–you’ll be glad you did.
  2. Libraries – They’re free, and they’re full of books–what could be better?! Libraries are the perfect place to write. Any resource you can imagine is right there at your fingertips. Plus, if writer’s block strikes, you can exercise your mind and get back on track by picking a book from the seemingly infinite wall of books and reading it. Another awesome thing about the library is that it’s the perfect place to meet other authors in your neighborhood. Antonio and I went to the library on a random Saturday afternoon, and stumbled upon a writer’s organization that holds meetings there once a month! Needless to say, we’ll be attending the next meeting, and have found a whole new group of writers to network with!
  3. Coffee shops – It may sound cliche, but I’ve gotten some good writing done at Starbuck’s over a tall blonde roast. Not only does the coffee wake up brain cells, cafes are prime people-watching havens. Need to find a character for your next story? Just listen in on some convos at a coffee shop, study some patrons and their mannerisms, and you’re halfway there.
  4. Airplanes – Flights, especially moderately lengthy ones, are the optimal places to do some serious writing. Looking out at the clouds does wonders for creativity. So does the fact that you’re locked into an enclosed space, so you’re almost forced to work. Bonus points if you spend part of your flight reading, too.
  5. Parks – When I was in elementary school, having class outside in the courtyard was a special treat. I felt like I learned so much more in the fresh, open air than I did in the stuffy, old classroom. Writing outside at a park can work much the same way. Like the coffee shop, there’s plenty of people-watching (and therefore, character inspiration). Go there on a nice day, and there’s also sunshine, which increases your creativity through its actions on your brain neurotransmitters. (More about that in this recent blog post.) There’s something magical about sitting on the grass in the breeze crafting a story. Try it this spring, and you’ll be a believer!

What other locations do you enjoy writing from? I’d love to hear what works for you.

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