For those of you who may be new to Happy Writing!, let me just say up front, I have a rather difficult time writing at home. It's not impossible, but let's just say it is far more likely I will find myself on the couch streaming the entire series of Firefly (again) than actually get any writing done. It's just best if I pack up the laptop and go out to a coffee shop or a library. Quite frankly, I am grateful for this because my various commitments have me running from one side of the city to the other and if I was someone who could only write at home, I would probably never get any writing done.
I have my favorite writing haunts sprinkled throughout Chicago, but for the longest time, I didn't have any commitments that brought me downtown regularly, and I'd kind of forgotten one of the best places to write in the city. However, I am now downtown four times a week and so close to the Harold Washington Library that I find myself writing there a lot more than I used to.
Writing at the library is great! Unlimited free wi-fi, you aren't obligated to buy any food or beverage (though downside is that you really can't have any food or beverage either), you're surrounded by books, and of course it is nice and quiet (aside from the music blasting in your headphones, of course). All of this, I remembered and have been embracing. But this week, I suddenly remembered that there is a very lovely space on the 9th floor that I hadn't visited in probably a couple years. It is a wide open indoor space with a high ceiling that's probably used for special events, but is usually just open for anyone to sit and enjoy. It actually feels a bit like you're sitting outdoors, which in the middle of winter in Chicago, even one as mild as this one has been, is really a nice sort of feeling.
I'm afraid my pictures don't really do it justice, so take my word for it that is really just a beautiful, peaceful place to write. The re-discovery of one of my old writing haunts has stirred of memories of all the other places I used to spend time creating in. Some are gone now, such as the coffee shop I wrote most of my first attempt at a novel in, and some of the outdoor places just aren't practical right now, but mostly I am reminded of how much inspiration I take from my surroundings when I write. And maybe that is why I can't work at home. I want to be surrounded by the buzz and flutter of the world. I want to hear music and feel people living their lives. All those things find their way onto my page, into my story, they feed my characters and me. The world is my muse.
What about you? Where are your favorite writing haunts? Does your environment affect your ability to write?
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