Author Poll: Great Places to Write
By Amy Groening

Writers: We want to hear where you write best! Post responses to this article on our Facebook Page.

The spaces we find ourselves in can be just as conducive to the writing process as the ideas in our heads are—but what are some of the best places to write?

I have always had this romantic idea that ensconcing myself in nature will make the writing process easier. This was probably put there by the year I spent studying the Romantics, but I’m guessing Wordsworth never tried to wax poetic in the middle of a southern Manitoba summer. It seems the most beautiful places I can pick to write turn out to be a mosquito feeding ground, or in the middle of one of our characteristic Winnipeg wind tunnels.

The one time I tried writing on the beach I came home with a water-damaged notebook, a pen clogged with sand, and half a blurred, sandy sentence scratched onto the page. As I slapped the fifteenth mosquito trying to eat me for lunch and watched the wind rip the latest page from my notebook and carry it off to Never Never Land, I began to wonder if anyone actually gets away with writing outside, or if it’s just one of those beautiful visions cooked up by Byron and Keats.

And yet, I know there are places that are just designed to capture the imagination, and I am determined to seek them all out—even if it means getting in line to do it. I’ve hunkered down in the same cafes where some of the most famous books known to man were written (whether that literature be J.K. Rowling or Earnest Hemmingway), and tried to tune out the deafening noise of hundreds of other fans scuffling around, all trying to capture the essence that produced The Old Man and the Sea at once. I write, determined to frame the resultant underwhelming scrap of paper as evidence that I at least thought about writing while sitting in the now smoke-free smoking room F. Scott Fitzgerald used to relax in, at least considered the fight between good and evil at the very same table The Philosopher’s Stone was penned on.

I’ve got to say, the best places I’ve found to write are usually the places no one else wants to write at—some of the best ideas I’ve had were scrawled out sitting cross-legged on a carpeted floor between the first and second landing of my apartment stairwell (don’t ask), or on the velveteen sofa in my parents’ basement, a relic that I’m quite certain has housed the same mouse family since its induction in 1985. And then there’s the writing spell I find myself under when I sit at the second stool from the left on the northward-facing side of the Second Cup on River Avenue, when they’re playing the Coffeshop Jazz Sensations and it’s between the hours of 9am and 2pm—any other time, soundtrack, or seat in the cafe is a dud but combine all those elements and it is an inexplicably pure writing experience (imagine my chagrin every time I visit to discover someone has taken my special seat).

What makes for a great writing space? Is it the atmosphere, the convenience, or just the fact that you came up with your first idea when you happened to be sitting right there? Where do you like to write?

We’d love to hear your own ideas on the best writing spaces (and someone, please come to the defense of nature!). Stop by on our Facebook Page to let us know where you write best!

About this Contributor:

Amy Groening is a Project Manager at Word Alive Press. She is a passionate storyteller with experience in blogging, newspaper reportage, and creative writing. She has an Honours degree in English Literature and is happy to be working in an industry where she can see other writers’ dreams come to life. She has a hand in many creative pursuits, including sewing, sculpture and painting, and spends an embarrassingly large amount of time at home taking photos of her cats committing random acts of feline crime.

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