I’ve just returned from another five day weekend visit to my parents in Ojai. The temperature is always warmer there than where I live; twenty degrees warmer. This weekend was 85 degrees, the sky was clear; the flowers always in bloom, Ventura and Santa Barbara beaches were hot. I rode bikes, went to a musical at Thatcher boarding school, saw a movie star at the market, ate, did all sorts of fun stuff. The same stuff I did when I lived there. Back when I didn’t write.
Now that I write, I don’t “get” something. Why does this town attract so many writers and poets? Other artists, I understand. Just visiting makes me want to take up watercolors, but writing? That’s the last thing I want to do.
For my writing environment to be conducive, I must have no distractions. No fantastic gardening weather, no windless, sunny beach, no nothing. Nada. No fun must beckon me, whatsoever.
I read somewhere that not all writers are depressed and that most defy all stereotypes and are quite happy. I agree. When I am truly depressed or ill, or someone in my family is facing a bad time, I cannot write. I can’t understand the tortured writer who can write through grief and pain. But also I can’t understand how someone could live anywhere like I described above and not want to be out in it.
Where I live, my mood is generally caustic and low-beat. The good news is I write, and for many hours every day without remorse that I may be missing out on something. I have no qualms about the days spent behind a computer. I’m sacrificing a lot to write, but not as much as if I lived in a more desirable location. Returning home tonight, I smile, because I can return to my revisions. I can’t wait for tomorrow.
Does environment play a big role on how often you write? If you lived in your dream house or location, would your writing be affected? If you already live in such a paradise, how do you balance writing with the beckoning outdoors?