Flower Power and Where You Write

Flowers chamomiles tulips and crocuses in vases isolated on white

It’s such a joy to look up from my desk every once in a while and catch a pop of pink, red, yellow, purple, white or green. I vary the colors of flowers I buy and try to feed my floral fix every week. It’s a little way to reward myself for hard work done and more to do.

When I attended a writer’s event a few months ago, I asked the panelists about where they write and whether they exercise. My goal was to understand how accomplished authors stay productive or disconnect from the word game when they need to lessen stress. Not surprisingly, the answers differed although all of the panelists talked about the need to physically move their bodies. For some, it meant taking a yoga class. Others laced up sneakers and headed out for a run or to visit the gym. Answers about location likewise varied.

JK Rowling is said to have written the legendary Harry Potter books on napkins and in Edinburgh cafes. According to “Writing Spaces: Where 9 Famous Creatives Do Their Best Work,” Jane Austen penned Emma on a tiny table. George Bernard Shaw used a typewriter atop a “clean white desk” in a private cubbyhole where he could escape from people. Chef Nigella Lawson works in a library chock-a-block with books.

I favor a large desk in a sunny room with ample space for research notes. The flowers are the visual cherries on top. I need lots of quiet to concentrate so noisy coffee shops are not for me. I keep index cards with me in the car, the kitchen and my purse. I am constantly thinking about what I will write and how I can improve what I’ve put down on paper already. I bought a dictaphone and will start using it as soon as I figure out where I placed it in my office. For health, I try to take yoga class at least four times per week and lift weights or bike at the gym on other days.

Regardless of where one writes, when and how, the sine qua non is the writing itself. A quick read of “The Daily Routines of 12 Famous Writers (And How They Can Help You Succeed” makes it clear that one must begin in order to finish. Ernest Hemingway wrote every morning. Jodi Picoult is quoted as saying that “You can’t edit a blank page.” E.B. White describes a writer as withering if he or she waits “for ideal conditions.”

Duly inspired by movers and shakes, I’m focused on a productive 2016 and wish the same for other authors.