Calvin gave me a laptop for Christmas--a lovely lime green Dell that I affectionately call "my mean green machine." Now I can write anywhere: my recliner, the front porch, restaurants, motels...ad finitum. Virginia Woolf wrote that all a woman needs to write is "a room of one's own." All I need is a computer and a good thesaurus--and Calvin's steady flow of encouragement.
We'd gone out for a late breakfast today, being the "sleeper-inners" that we are. In a booth at Bob Evans, I read Cal's latest short story about a man whom you slowly discover is quite mad. Cal is such a better writer than I. His sentences are full of thunder and lightning. Unusual words of description snap and crackle life into his stories, and make you think, "wow, why can't I come up with stuff like this?" Yet, it is he who praises me, telling me that my writing style is folksy and exuberant. I soak up his praise like the proverbial sponge; I am a lucky woman.
After eating, we went to Barnes and Noble which is a great place to write. Just think about it; it's relatively quiet with a gazillion reference books for you to thumb through and a never-ending supply of espressos or green tea lattes.
I find I write best in environments like this--book stores, restaurants and cafes. But everyone is different. Where do you write best? In front of the TV? At a desk with soft music playing? A quiet inner sanctum devoid of sound except for the tapping of the keys? Many writers, like Calvin, devote a regimented number of hours a day to their craft. Others, like me, write in fits and starts or when the muse strikes.
As I venture further and further into the world of writing, I find I'm changing, adapting to the pressures of producing more printed words per day. Certainly it has nothing to do with advancing age and the fear that my time on earth will end before I'm ever published. I try not to dwell on the delays and roadblocks that are part and parcel of a writer's life. For example, a publisher has had Calvin's manuscript over seven months and promises to read it soon. Calvin's not holding his breath. Like most writers, we write because the story compels us. It bugs us like a continual wedgie, invading our sleep and taking our minds as prisoners. We write because we have no choice.