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By Pattie Beaven

This past month many of us have been asked to ponder “why we write”.  I have tried to answer that question with an essay on the subject, but I do feel the question is more complex than just “why we write”.  There’s also How, What, and even Where and When.

I started pondering the whole Where and When question this week when I was informed one of my writing spots will be unavailable for most of the summer.  It’s not my only writing spot, but I’d be lying if I didn’t at least admit it’s one of my favorites.  Because of this regular meet-up, I have been able to dedicate Thursdays to writing.  I enjoy the group of regulars that attend Captain Whidbey Inn Writing Co-works.  There is an aura of camaraderie that I don’t feel I get anywhere else.

Going without Thursday’s meet-up will not break me.  I have plenty of other places to go write.  There’s always home, of course.  There’s something about being home, though, that does not motivate me to create.  When I’m home, I have all kinds of distractions, from legitimate “I have to prepare lunch” to the understandable “time for kitty love-fest” to the questionable “I think I need a nap/bubble bath, right now” and the super lame “FACEBOOK”.

I can dedicate time for writing all I want.  I’ve tried suggestions from professionals such as the “Write or Do Nothing” method, where I don’t have to write, but I can’t do anything else except write.  I have a daily writing goal set really low so it’s easy to accomplish- only 250 a day.  But if I stay at home, I will procrastinate and distract myself all day until all of a sudden it’s 10 pm and I haven’t touched a notepad or keyboard.

Staying at home is not as productive for me.  If you are a stay-at-home writer, I would love to try out some of your suggestions.  But for now, I am always scouting out spots for me to do my writing where I feel it benefits me the most- out of the house, and at designated places for writing.

I do rent a cozy spot reserved just for writers.  The good part about renting a place is it’s available every day of the week.  It’s got WiFi for my computer (most of my writing occurs on Google Docs right now, plus it gives me access to my personal blog, and online sites I reference like Optimize and Collaboration).  I’m more apt to use the space because I pay for it.  But I do look for spots that are convenient and cost effective as well.

One of my favorite places to go for just a couple hours is the library.  I can use their computers and get online to my documents for up to 2 hours.  What’s better is if I ever need print-ups of my writing, the local libraries allow me 70 free black and white copies PER WEEK.  And then there is the fact you are surrounded by books on your subject, to use as reference, as comparative, or just to escape.  Well, on the other hand, maybe the library isn’t the best spot for me to stay focused…

I’m not opposed to cafes or coffee shops, but I don’t know how focused I stay at such places.  I also haven’t looked into outdoor writing locations too much, mainly because I work on my computer so often and it’s sometimes difficult to get online in nature.  But that might be good for me, once in awhile, to unplug, grab a notebook and let my hand and mind connect while I soak up my Vitamin D, and increase my deep appreciation for nature.  I am training to be a Beach Naturalist, so maybe I can dedicate an hour each week after my volunteer shift to hang around on the beach or in the woods and write.

Why we write is an important question.  I feel my colleagues have very poignant answers- “I write because I can’t NOT write”, “I write because the voices in my head need to be heard” (I love that one).  I have a mission to share my passion with the world.  I have my WHY, but sometimes it’s important to figure out your Where and When to spark the motivation and willpower to get your writing done.

Where’s your “Where”?

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