Far and Away: A Writers Dream

J.G. Chayko on the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia

There’s something romantic about stories of writers who have the means to travel to other places, live there for a few months and write. This is the dream we all have as writers. We imagine a cabin in the woods, a quiet desk at the window with a view, wildlife roaming freely through a lush forest; we long for a patio on a cliff hanging over the ocean, waking each morning to the whisper of waves breaking on the shore or a vibrant sunset kissing the whitecaps at twilight, perhaps a glass of wine at our side. We envision an elegant apartment in New York overlooking Central Park, and we bow to the illusion that if we could be in any of these places, we will finish the great novel, that bestseller we’ve been working on for months, maybe even years.

This is the fairy-tale we tell ourselves. It’s a lovely fantasy to think we can pack up for six months out of the year and burrow away in a cottage on the beach, but the truth is there’s no guarantee we will be any more productive in that space than in our parents’ basement. It’s a form of procrastination. We’re tricking ourselves into an idealized version of a what a writer should be and do.

We may not have the resources to travel to New York, Greece, Italy or any other exotic city to complete our novel, but we do have the power to garner inspiration from the outside world in the place we call home. There are glorious sunsets to be seen in our own backyard, serene parks with their own fertile beauty, lakes and shorelines that rejuvenate and inspire. We can make our own writing space as comfortable and inviting as possible. We can put up posters, hang pictures, rearrange furniture, paint, listen to music, infuse the air with soft aromas, construct our own Feng Shui to sit down get the job done.

We shouldn’t have to travel anywhere beyond our own imagination. We have the distinct power to design our own inspiring location within the stories begging to be told. The work itself should be enough to transport us far and away. Fire up the computer, turn on the music, sit down and start writing. You’ll be amazed at the places you find yourself.

Some Writing, A Massage and a Comedy of Errors

DSC_1127We arrived at our destination welcomed by the bumpy waves of the glacial lake rushing onto the sandy shore. It’s cool, almost winter, a balmy zero degrees beneath a blue sky, a dazzling sun shimmering in the clear icy water. It is the beginning of a weekend retreat of luxury and bliss for my better half and me, a bit of reading, a restorative couple of days in healing hot springs, and for me, a bit of writing. My NaNoWriMo had commenced with a rocky start, plagued by deadlines, illness and familial obligations. I have managed to pen an opening, introduce characters and a setting for my work in progress, but am looking to move the plot forward in the remaining days of November. I have no expectations that I will actually complete a rough draft of a novel, but I am confident that I will establish a solid foundation on which to build.

We checked in, were given our room keys and made our way to the fifth floor, anticipating the first view of our lair with lakeside views. We swiped our key card – nothing happened – no welcoming green light or click of the lock granted us access. We tried again to no avail – we tried the second key card and still nothing. After several tries the door opened from inside, and we were greeted by the couple already occupying our room. Oops, our mistake?

After many apologies from the front desk, we were given another room. This time, no other occupants were inside and we reveled in our elegant space that overlooked the vast lake outside our window. We settled in and decided to go for a walk to explore. Our door closes behind us, we test the latch to make sure all is secure and it opens. Puzzled, we close it again, not immediately noticing the lack of a lock clicking into place. Once again, we test the latch, and once again are granted access to our room without a key. We call the front desk and they graciously send a repair man to replace the locking mechanism. Once in place, we leave to explore, have a bit of dinner – we return an hour or so later only to discover that, once again, we are denied access to our room. Sigh. Back to the front desk we go only to learn that they had not reprogrammed the new lock on our door; once again, a repair man is sent and finally, we have a working key and a locking door.

That was day one…day two emerged with much less excitement and led us into the blissful weekend we were seeking. I am writing now, to the sound of waves brushing over the sand, and a brisk fall wind prompting the trees to chatter amongst themselves. Olive snow-capped mountains enfold us on all sides wrapping us in sanctuary. My characters are coming to life again in the blissful tranquility we have now achieved. I type in anticipation of discovery, and the luxurious massage that will free my mind to wander into new territory, shaping the image of the story I must compose.

Write on, dear writers…write on…