So you think you can write?

Do you need your “space” to create? A sacred area of peace and tranquility where you can tap into that wealth of creativity you can feel lurking in dark crevices in your mind.

Is it a place no one dares enter when you are in residency for fear of serious bodily harm or a tirade of verbal abuse that will need years of counselling to reverse? I too, once enjoyed my own fortress of solitude, perched loftily behind a kitchen wall and accessed through a narrow passage way.

Those days have long passed, the fortress now abandoned to a hoard of hobbit sized little trolls who exercised squatting rights the moment I left.

For those of you who are shaking your heads in horror at the thought of fellow writer divested of his creative castle, take heed of these words..

FREEDOM, freedom, freedom. Okay so just one word, but repeat three times for emphasis. I am free. I have been liberated. Lost you have I? Allow me to explain .

I traded in my fortress for a life on the road. I exchanged solitude for the cacophony of life and isolation for the maddening crowd. Instead of sitting alone in my Ivory tower seeking that elusive spark of creativity I ventured out and it found me.

It finds me every day, in a remote village in the Philippines, surrounded by rice fields or on the bustling streets of Bangkok. An old pre war restaurant abandoned on a street corner in China Town screams write my story as I pass by.

When it comes, the creative spark, I grab it firmly by the ears and pin it down, no matter where I find myself, and I have found myself in some pretty strange places.

Try writing in a crowded bus that’s sweltering inside. Your neighbour on the narrow bench that passes for a seat is not tiny ( proof God exists and has a sense of humour) and the box on her lap and half of yours contains three very lively chickens.

Every twenty metres or so you receive a complimentary slap of the very wet little towel she is using to try and stem the flow of body fluids that are hemorrhaging from every pore on her skin. You breathe a sigh of relief when she climbs off and sneak a quick look out the window to make sure a bloke and a goat aren’t waiting at the stop.

Try writing in a flooded little village, swinging in a hammock to try and keep out of the water, which looks suspiciously as though it might contain a little more than just dysentry and the overflow of every cesspit in the neighborhood.

Factor in the flies, mosquitos and weird looking dragon flies which seem hell bent on mating with the hammock and you soon realize that you are going to need an extra pair of arms. Even the ducks floating below you cannot keep the insects at bay, despite helpful pecks at your butt through the bottom of the hammock.

Try to capture an elusive, fleeting, teasing thought that presents itself in the middle of a wet market in Manila. Once again, the heat levels are high enough to suggest Lucifer might vacation here in the summer.

The smell of fresh and not so fresh fish permeates the air, interspersed with the cloying fragrance or raw chicken. The spot you picked to sit in for a few minutes turns out to be the main access point for trolleys bringing in the catch of the day. Your toes prove to be a very effective mechanism to slow and in some cases completely stop the irrate trolley pushers.

Given the ideal writing environment I now find myself in, I have discovered a new best friend. It’s small, compact and lives in my pocket. Of course, I refer to my cell phone or mobile, depending on your geographic location.

It’s always on, often courtesy of a spare battery (never leave home without one) and is capable of capturing entire scenes with a clever little built in device called a camera. These images prove indespensible when later describing an event or place.

It’s best feature though has been from a writing perspective. Great little tools and apps now mean you can work on and offline, wherever and whenever.

Could this spell the death of the trusty notepad? Why bother carrying one when a potential Pulitzer is a few keystrokes away. Assuming of course you remembered the spare battery, haven’t dropped the phone in the flood water or had a chicken swallow it.

Have you found yourself forced to write in weird and wonderful places? Share your stories below.


23 thoughts on “So you think you can write?

  1. I absolutely loved your writing, the romantic picture you painted battling the heat and the flood and the pesky flies and yet remain focused on the task at hand – drafting posts . Truly admirable ! I know I’m feeling quite inspired. Was grinning away by the time I reached the end . Awesome work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting situation to try an write in! I don’t think I could, unless it was non-fiction and I knew exactly what I wanted to say.— or a travelogue describing the sights around me, as you have done here. Great scene setting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert,
    First, I wanted to thank you for commenting on and visiting Nox Canto. Second, I loved this post. So many people laugh at the idea that I might be writing a book on my phone or tablet. They don’t understand how much easier it is to capture moments not only as they are perceived but also as inspiration happens. The technology has absolutely revolutionised how writers and artists work. Also I really enjoyed the visual representation of writing from a high castle vs in the mud and grit of daily life. Everyone who writes or aspires to do so should travel.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Milly. Looking forward to following your progress. It always seem easier to write the about the darker things. I think we’re probably all a little morbidly​ biased, or maybe that’s just us writers.


  4. Dear Robert,
    I am the Founder & CEO of the Millionaire’s Digest Magazine, and I recently received your application requesting to become a writer for our magazine, and so this is just a letter from me to you, to let you know that I have looked over and reviewed it and have accepted you to become a writer for our Blogging, Stories, Successful Living, and Travel Magazine!
    Now what happens next is that there is nothing that really happens next. Another words, there is no invitation or email that you have to go and check as the invitation for our magazine is only sent out 12 times a year which always happens at the beginning of the month. (Usually the first day.)
    This is just my letter to you as the CEO, just to let you know that I have accepted your request and have added you to our list full of magazine writers who I send the invitations out to every month.
    The only thing that changes now is that at the beginning of every month, you will want to make sure to check your email as you will receive your invitation which will include the following:
    -Announcements on the next magazine edition(s) that we are coming out with.
    -Instructions on the magazine(s) such as how and where to go to submit your articles.
    -The deadline on when the last day is to turn in your articles. (Usually 7 days prior the date after the invitation is sent out, that way everyone has a full week to get their articles written out, rather than just one day.)
    -Who the magazine(s) are for. (Which magazine writers they are for.)
    -The private form to submit your articles.
    -How long your articles need to be.
    -And everything else that I know you are going to want to ask me about.
    Other than that, if you have any other questions, you’re always welcome to ask me and I will kindly make sure to help get them answered for you.
    If not, than I hope you have a nice rest of the day, and thank you!
    Millionaire’s Digest Magazine Founder & CEO
    P.S. – Good luck on getting that first novel of yours written out and finished! I always love it when I get to meet people who are authors of their own book as I know and understand that that is not something many people can do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Founder
      Just a quick question relating to your platform. It’s two months down the line and still no email inviting me to spew forth on a range of topics. Could you have overlooked my literary talents in favour of others or simply misplaced my email I wonder?


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