Tags: writing retreat

A Change of Scenery

by Ruth Tenzer Feldman
Published on: February 4, 2014
Categories: Basics, Craft, Creativity
Comments: No Comments

goats-cropThis is a closeup of the view from my bedroom window last weekend, when I was on another Viva Scriva writer’s retreat. With just three of us this time, we barely outnumbered the goats.

As some of you know, I live and write in a condo in downtown Portland. My usual hit of nature is the occasional heron at Tanner Springs Park. These goats and the farm wedged into the valley under a big, wide sky were more than a relaxing environment. They were a means to shake awake my creativity.

I had been to this farm outside Hood River once before, which made things perfect. No need to use brainpower to get familiar with nuisance details, such as where the extra toilet paper was hiding, or how to set the thermostat. I could devote all my waking hours to making the most of a change of scenery.

Here’s the deal, at least for me, and maybe for you, too. For a project as long a writing a book, I need routine in both time and place. I put my butt in a familiar chair in one of several writing spots at home or in the library, and my brain is ready to work. But after several months or so, a change of scenery seems to boost my creativity. I find solutions to problems that are plaguing my plot or keeping my characters from feeling fully formed. I “see” things differently in my imagination in part because of the difference in my real world environment.

Bottom line? Strive for a balance between the time and place that generates the predictable, let’s-get-to-work spark for you and the time and place that regenerates the freshness and wonder that nourishes creativity. Get your bottom there, and get going.

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