This morning I woke up to a beautiful sight. I live in a wooded community, and we had snow last night. This morning the snow was still sticking to the trees. That’s rare. It gets windy up here, so snow usually blows off the trees right away.
The view made me think about how this environment sometimes impacts my writing.
The view this morning outside my office window was gorgeous. And mornings like this put me in a relaxed state where I tend to get a lot of writing done. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. It’s beautiful. You can’t go wrong.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the circumstances), that isn’t always the case. The woods aren’t always so lovely. Sometimes they’re downright scary, especially during storms when these monstrous trees sway so hard they look like toothpicks on the verge of snapping. We’ve had huge branches come crashing down. We’ve heard the wind howling through the trees some like some demonic creature was on the loose.
We also live at the end of our road on a cul-de-sac. That means there’s only one way out. Neighbors are close enough to see, but not close enough to hear you scream unless they’re hanging around outside. And we’ve been dealing with a seemingly crazy neighbor for over a year who almost randomly decides to terrorize us and other neighbors with extreme noise levels and gun-related harassment. As beautiful as it is, it can feel like a pretty scary place to live sometimes.
Normally that’s unfortunate. It’s not what we expected when we moved here. I was just looking forward to a quiet place to write and a place where we could be left alone.
But sometimes it’s the fearful elements that make it easier to write. That’s especially true when I’m working on my mystery novel or any work in the horror genre (like the short story series I’m working on now). My environment makes it possible for me to physically experience the same kinds of fear I sometimes write about. And while it’s not a pleasant feeling at the time, I feel like it gives my writing more authenticity.
In my case my environment affects my writing in different ways depending on how it makes me feel on any given day. This morning that means I have a quiet writing haven and I’ll have a productive day editing a children’s book manuscript and blogging. Later, as the sun goes down and the neighbors likely come around, that comfort will be gone. And I’ll use that time to finish the first draft of one of my horror short stories and a new chapter or two in the mystery novel.
How does your writing environment affect your work?