For my MFA in creative writing, I focused on poetry and literary translation but dabbled in just about everything else. Because I was interested in publishing (and can't help managing things) I served for a year as the managing editor of the graduate department's literary journal, Fourteen Hills.
Everyone on the Fourteen Hills staff contributed to the journal's blog to promote events, writers, other journals, and literary sites we loved. I submitted this post after a morning bout of writer's block. One of the easiest ways to get around not writing is to write about writing...
Where We Write
I spent a good portion of my allotted writing time today performing a neat bit of procrastination called "reading about writing," an activity that, done properly, triggers virtuous feelings of productivity with little to no actual production required.
I was clicking through the more recent installments of The Rumpus's “Where I Write” column, cadging information about where, and therefore how, other writers get themselves to produce. The column comes in all shapes and sizes, each installment written by a guest columnist who, using their preferred form (essay, canto, verse, illustration), muses about how where they write affects their creative effort and output. Posted sideways on my couch with one leg tucked under the other, laptop wobbling on a makeshift throw-pillow desk, I read about city benches, home offices, notebooks, note cards, sinks full of dishes, and various questionable internal states of mind.
Each column confirmed in its own way what anyone who’s tried to make a regular practice of writing eventually learns: writing will happen somewhere as long as you put in the work. I didn’t get any actual writing done on the couch this morning, but once I moved outside for a run, I found myself stopping every half mile or so to tap a string of words into my phone. Later, in the shower—that notoriously inconvenient idea-generator—I thought of a good friend who in the homestretch of writing her first cookbook realized she wrote better “in the back of my head.” “You know,” she told me, “when I’m not pushing everything into the front of my brain, focusing on it too hard.” Because she was doing the work—the thinking, the planning, the preparation—her brain had material to play with once she relaxed her focus.
Some writers write at a desk, some on planes, some in notebooks, some on computer screens. My friend writes in the back of her head. I write while running or showering or, more regularly, in busy coffee shops, on my computer. And I "write" while surfing around The Rumpus, reading about where other writers write.
What about you? Where do you write?