Come on, don't be shy. Okay, I'll go first. Here are some of the places I've done it:
- On a train.
- Beside the Thames.
- At my parents' house.
- Beneath the stairs.
- In the back garden.
- Surrounded by strangers at St Pancras International.
Writing is one of the most portable activities there is. But do these different venues affect my writing? I recently turned up at a day retreat, battling through rain, and immediately hated the new venue. I spent a day making my main character really, really angry. My attempts to write at the Starbucks in St Pancras were sensationally disastrous. All those other people milling around, looking a bit lost and forlorn, on their way somewhere but not there yet? Every word I wrote at that venue was equally lost and may as well have been ripped up and used for confetti. But I've had successes too. I once sat in my back garden and gazed up from my empty laptop screen to the blue flowers at the base of the cherry tree. Inspiration! A few hours later I'd completed a short story that - yes! - would be published. And I love writing on trains, if not at train stations.
Daphne du Maurier famously wrote 'Rebecca' whilst living in Egypt. Egypt! Her novel drips Cornish beauty: the shoreline, that house, those storms. Could Emily Bronte have written about the dark passions of 'Wuthering Heights' if she'd been holed up in leafy Surrey? (I grew up amongst the Derbyshire moors. When visiting Surrey for the first time as a naive 20-year-old I looked around and declared, 'But it's so ... green.' Made my boyfriend's mum laugh a lot. I never did like her.)
Sorry, I'm getting distracted. Venues. In 1930s Egypt, Daphne du Maurier's imagination yearned for the coasts of Cornwall and she evoked them brilliantly in her novel. I suspect locations matter just as much or as little as you allow them to. It's your imagination that counts and I've discovered that once you're visiting that part of your brain, the rest of the world can go whistle. You're oblivious.
Please visit my website at www.karen-ball.com.