It’s hard to be on all the time. I imagine every person feels this way in their life at least once in a while, either personally or professionally. Sometimes, you never find that perfect word. Sometimes, there seems to be no special way to say what it is you need to say. Sometimes, all you can do is put away the project and wait until inspiration strikes — if deadline allows, which it usually doesn’t.
This was me a little earlier this week. I kept waiting to find the perfect sentences as I sat in the office behind the monitor. All of my senses seemed heightened, but not in that wonderful creative way you hope they will be.
The police scanner seemed to blare extra loud. The sun was finally out and teased me through too-high, tiny windows. Newsroom jokes and stories caught — and kept — my attention longer than normal.
This used to happen in college, and I knew to retreat to a cave in the library for hours or my second home, the little coffee shop near my house, where students could work silently forever in an unspoken community until we felt we accomplished whatever it was we needed to accomplish. In this town, we don’t really have a place I feel comfortable doing that. I need ambiance and atmosphere, and sometimes I feel desperate for a place outside of my home with big chunky tables, chairs I can sink into, free wifi, some kind of special brew and an old guy who you know will be sitting outside strumming a beat-up guitar no matter what time you show up. That’s where I feel like I create the good stuff.
Yesterday, I needed that place.
I went to the only place I knew I could be alone in the middle of the day on a Wednesday: That patch of green grass between a bulky shade tree and lakefront daffodils.
I spread out a blanket I had in the back of the car and opened up my laptop. It wasn’t the fun little coffeehouse workspace of my dreams; for the moment, it was better. I breathed deep, I read what I had and I felt focused for the first time in days.
Here are a few shots from my new favorite writing spot. Oh, and I finished more writing in that hour than I did the entire day.