‘For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.’ Eugène Ionesco.
If you’re not a writer this probably sounds sad, but it is definitely true.
Writers come in assorted shapes and sizes and you can find them almost anywhere. There may be one or two lurking in your home town if you look hard enough. While the romantic idea of a writer hiding away in a garret somewhere in Paris may be true, you’re just as likely to find them writing or tapping away on a laptop in your local coffee shop.
To be honest, I find a quiet spot preferable for writing, but I know many writers like working in a local café. While I prefer solitude while I’m writing, I don’t think anyone who writes can completely hide away. Inspiration comes in many ways but it is often triggered by other people or situations. I realised years ago, almost by accident, that many of my ideas for characters or scenes come while I’m out walking. So now, if I’m having trouble with a scene or plot point, I find it’s much better to pull on my shoes and go out for a walk. Often, I don’t even need to go that far, sometimes just going to get a glass of water will trigger the idea or word I need.
For the past year I’ve been working in the city again. It’s not so good from the perspective of the time it’s taken me to finish my latest book, but it is wonderful in the ideas and inspiration I get while travelling to work or sometimes while I’m there.
Generally I catch a bus into work and get the ferry home—both are great for people watching. I used to go to the Park and Ride where the bus into the city goes every four or five minutes during peak hour. Because of the frequency you see different people all the time. Since I moved I’ve been catching a local express bus. Most days the same people are on the bus, and most days they sit in the same seat—almost as if it’s been reserved for them. If you’re wondering about me, I make a point of sitting in a different seat every day! There is a young woman who always leans her head against the window in the same position and appears to go to sleep—obviously not a morning person! Another woman carries two enormous bags every day. One day I’ll come up with a plot about the possible contents. There is a man who doesn’t hide his interest (or nosiness) about things. He turns around to look at people and stands up to check out things that are happening outside the bus. The ferry home is just as interesting and during these summer months it’s wonderfully relaxing to watch the city shrink as we sail away—and think about writing.
If you’re not a writer be warned, there may be one watching you.