Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Room with a View

I moved to a new home recently, and now I have a room with a view. Yes, that’s right—a second story room looking out over the world around me. This room came with a price; I took care of my dad for a month last summer while he rehabilitated from a stroke and am continuing that care for as long as he is with us; I moved him to a new state, sold his house, and finally helped him purchase and move into a new home a week before Christmas. It was a grueling six months, but we have survived. Not only is the New Year facing me with a smile, but I have a whole new perspective on which to view my life and writing possibilities.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who struggled through 2010. I heard the abundance of horror stories in the nightly news casts and cried over the hard luck of some of my friends. And like them, I allowed the difficulties to stifle clarity of thought, not to mention all my energy, though there was really little time to think about anything but family and only enough energy to do the most pressing tasks before me. After meeting with realtors, title companies, and changing addresses twice over, I can actually see my world settling down a bit.

As I look back at all I’ve accomplished, I do not feel guilty for the time away from writing. Writing can never be more important to me than watching over my dad and helping him adjust to a new life. Yet everything has a season, and there is a time to get back to our talents, dreams, and aspirations. There is a time to take a fresh look outside our rooms with views and approach our writing with new fervor.

What’s that? You say you live on a single level and the only view you see is the fence around your backyard. Ah, contraire. We all have a place from which to see with newborn eyes, we just have to know where to locate that vantage point. Finding your own room with a view can be as simple as finding a different place to write in your home, but wherever you discover your own special nook, you are bound to glean new perspective as you continue writing in 2011. If nothing here works for you, come up with your own special out-look and, by all means, share the ideas that have helped you the most. Here is my list:

Take a trip – If you can’t move to a new location, take a day, a week, or a month to venture away from home. Take your computer with you and write from a bench in the mall, from a blanket on the beach, or from your grandmother’s cottage in the woods. Listen to the conversation and sights around you or soak up nature and let the setting transform into words. Change is often the catalyst that sets our minds afire.

Move your writing hovel – Writing in the same place every day might be hindering your thought processes. If you have formed bad habits sitting in a mundane locale, change it up a bit. Find a new corner in your home or at least remove the clutter. Turn your desk to face in a different direction. Writing from a different angle may be all you need to get the juices flowing again.

Read a different genre or style – If you tend to read the same kinds of books all the time, surprise yourself with a different read. An innovative approach to fiction, poetry, or non-fiction might stir a novel idea or at least provide a new window to look over what you’ve already created.

Join a writers group – Authors come in all shapes and opinions. They enjoy sharing their points of view. Attending a writers group might start you thinking in a new direction.

Interview an author – Ask an author how they approach their work, and you are bound to discover an original way of approaching your own. If you lack the time to interview someone yourself, read the zillions of blogs that do nothing but consult authors.

Research – If your mind bogs too often, try searching the Internet or scouring through a resource that will help you fill up the blank spots in your manuscript. You never known, you might pick up a fact or two that sends you into a frenzy of writing.

Whatever your approach to finding your own window of inspiration, let your new eyes do the work. Your examination just might help you unveil the words waiting to come to light.


Lisa Stenzel said...

Thank you for these little tid bits of wisdom. It seems the best solutions are in the smallest of things. And those little things make a world of difference. Here's to a successful 2011!

Peggy Shumway said...

Thanks Lisa! Much success to you too!

Anonymous said...

Some very good suggestions. Thanks!

Deirdra A. Eden said...

Hi Peggy!

I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Powerful Woman Writer Award.
Go to and pick up your award.