The most critical piece of advice that I give to anyone who wants to write – whether I’m officially coaching them or not – is that they have to find their voice. And to do this, I highly recommend that they write like they’re talking to their best friend, mate, cohort – the person who makes them feel like their greatest self, the person who doesn’t judge, who wants the world for them, who loves and encourages their bright light to shine, shine, shine.
By the way, it’s not your mother or anyone that holds an emotionally charged lightening rod to you.
When you write like you’re writing to or talking to this person, your readers get a pure hit of the connection that sizzles between you. They feel like the circuit includes them as well, they find themselves on the inside. Because it oozes out of every word. And they are included because we’re really writing to all of our readers, yes? If you want to read more about my philosophy on this and fancy a shot of Clooney, go here.
But, today, I’m adding something to this manifesto. Location. I’ve come to realize that it’s not optimal to write when you don’t feel good about where you are. Unless you subscribe to the ‘tortured artist’ train of thought, of course. And I don’t. I think that the more magnificently your light shines, the better your writing results will be. And I mean ‘high beams’. No candles, no 40 watt bulbs.
Your writing will radiate brilliance. And your readers will want more, like crack. Or at least like a really good blog (or book or column) that they love reading and can’t get enough of.
In my mind, location is about place and so it includes physical location, but also:
- who’s in your space,
- what it smells like (I’m very big on the power of smells and ask you to kindly keep your garlic and patchouli far, far away from me),
- what you can see when your eyes look up from your computer or notebook,
- the charge that buzzes around in the air.
If you’ve been in a bad place, Starbucks in a new city may seem like heaven. If you feel drowned in the city, it may be that the woods do it for you. If you’ve been in prison, then I suppose the sky’s the limit.
And if it feels good – the place where you plant your chair – I just don’t think you can get this one wrong.
Image Credit: antecanis
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Join the discussion 7 Comments
What?! You don’t like garlic? :-)
Well, my body doesn’t like it – and when you don’t consume it, you can smell every trace on people around you – and it’s nauseating. I also have a fairly sensitive nose.
As always,thank you, Julie.
You have validated for me sitting on the couch in my cozy living room with no tv, no music, no kids, no candlelight, just reading Julie Roads’ amazing words. And writing back.
And I see the “Website” window and think, hmmm, where’s my Website?
Would I could do the GEEK thing tomorrow. You’ll shine, no doubt.
I still want my half hour.
For some reason, the patchouli works for me. I think it dates back to college and using it to cover up my smoking habit. But, each to his own.
Place definitely influences writing – I can look back on my blog and tell if I was home or at the store on break. Completely different atmospheres, and the entries have different tones, and most times TYPES of content even.
I write in multiple locations, but I love that my home desk faces a large window filled with trees and sky. I also have an 8 x 10 photo in front of me (that I took) of a dragonfly clinging to the top of a lotus flower bud. Lots of other inspirational objects, photos and books surround me. It’s one of my favorite places and definitely informs my writing style.
What do other folks’ favorite writing places contain?