Hello SEers! Mae here to chat about what else—writing. We all have our favorite spots for composing. Mine include my den (especially in the winter because it has an electric fireplace), and sitting outside on the covered patio in warm weather. Occasionally, I might camp out at the kitchen table with my Mac or pack up and head to my local library where I’ve been known to peck away at keys for hours.
I used to take my Mac with me when my husband and I traveled. I had visions of possibly typing out a scene or two on my WIP in the evenings. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that just doesn’t happen, so now my laptop stays at home.
But I’m a writer, and a writer always has to have a means of capturing inspiration. Even when I carted my Mac around, I kept a paper notebook handy. On trips when we drive instead of fly, hubby is the one behind the wheel. I always have a notebook open to for jotting down place names I find interesting. Streets, businesses, towns, or anything that catches my eye.
If I find one I like, I usually mix it up, so I’m not using an actual location. Old Alfred Road (real) might become Old Henry Lane (fictional). Snake Root Road (real) could become Toad Root Road (fictional). Town names also make great last names, and finally there are odd locations that scream to be remembered. Like an old cemetery I saw in Maine, smack against the side of the road. There was no entrance. You pulled onto the shoulder and opened your car door on headstones.
Let’s also not forget actual writing. If you’re the passenger in a car on a long-distance drive, chances are you might have time for scribbling a few scenes.
When we visited Maine, I realized to my utter horror, I hadn’t packed a notebook. Somehow, I didn’t miss it on the drive up, probably because I was too busy being the navigator, but once we arrived at our destination sans notebook, I was mortified. My husband didn’t get the issue at first. I had to explain that a writer never goes anywhere without a notebook. After that we made a special trip to the nearest store (a good 9-10 miles away) where I was able to pick up a steno pad. And boy did that thing get a workout. I used it to scribble copious notes for my last NaNoWriMo project.
After the notebook debacle, you’d think I’d be better prepared next time, right? But on a recent trip to the beach, I swapped my larger purse for a smaller one I use when we travel. I have minimal room but enough space for ID, cell phone, glasses, Kleenex, a comb and a pen. Guess what I forgot?
No pen, will travel. So, we’re about a half hour into the trip, when I pull out my steno pad—because I learned my lesson in Maine—only to realize I hadn’t brought a pen. Duh! When we checked in at the hotel, guess what I asked for first? It’s amazing how something so simple—the desk clerk providing a pen—made me so happy. Only another writer would get that. We capture ideas like a dream catcher captures dreams.
What are some of the odd places you’ve scribbled notes because you’ve found yourself without a tablet? What happens when you have paper but no pen or pencil—because, guaranteed—you know that’s when inspiration will strike like a thunderbolt.
Maybe I need to start dictating on my cell phone. But when it comes to scribbling or brainstorming, I’m old school. Give me a pen and paper and I’m happy. What about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Ready, set go!