Updated: Aug 31, 2022
“Chin up a little? Ok… Perfect… Just one more…”
“That’s amazing! This picture will be perfect for Insta!”
You look at the picture. The Douglas fir wood of the cabin contrasted against the pebble path and the spruce pines is something you have dreamed of for what feels like an eternity. You cannot believe you have the keys to your very own cabin in the woods where you will write your New York Times bestseller. You put filters on the picture, adjusting the brightness and the saturation until the picture looks like a professional camera was used instead of your iPhone 7. You open your Instagram app and add the caption “Shoot for the stars, land in the middle of the woods? Long weekends filled with writing coming soon to a cabin near you. ;)”
Unexpectedly, music starts playing. It’s lyrical and fanciful and it won’t stop. You try to pause the music on your phone, you try to turn off the phone, you even look for any extra speakers in the woods that could be playing the darned music. Nothing is working and you are starting to get annoyed. You start coming to and you realize, you don’t have a cabin in the woods. You are just waking up from a dream that was obviously too good to be true. Actually having your ideal location to write a novel in is a fantasy not-turned reality.
I don’t know about you, but I have always dreamed of being the author that has a cabin in the woods where they go for a long weekend to be secluded and make significant progress on their debut novel that is obviously going to be a bestseller. There would be a fire roaring in the fireplace when I arrived, my dogs would come with me, and we would all cuddle on the couch with my laptop, a cup of coffee, and the fluffiest blanket known to mankind. If I’m feeling really fancy, there would even be classical music playing softly in the background. Writer’s block doesn’t exist at the cabin. Words flow effortlessly from my brain to the word document I have opened. It is, what I like to call, my writing fantasy.
For others, maybe a cabin in the woods isn’t your fantasy place to write. Maybe you have an idea in your head that you want a day where there is nothing else on your calendar except for “sleep in” and “write”. In that fantasy, maybe your day also lasts a little longer than 24 hours. Perhaps you really just like to write when you are under a lot of pressure and know you have to get words on the page so that you hit a deadline. Whatever your ideal writing circumstances are, I would like to venture a guess it is something that is not very easily obtainable for you.
You see, the problem with an “ideal writing place” or “ideal time to write” is that it lends itself to stopping you from writing. Things like, “oh, I can’t write right now. I have to work in 4 hours and I can’t start writing when I will have to stop the creative process in 3 and a half” is problematic. That is 3½ hours’ worth of story you can write! Other people may say, “Well, I have time to write, but I’m stuck at home and can’t get to [insert ideal location here] to start writing.” What if you just sat at your dining room table and wrote for 30 minutes at a time. Sure, it isn’t where you wished you could have been, but you can’t get to your ideal location without working in some less than ideal places first.
The key to beating these excuses is all within you right now. You have written essays for school, short stories for yourself, Facebook posts, and tweets before. How did you do it then? You sat down, and you just started writing. It didn’t matter what time it was or where you were. Maybe these seemed much lower risk than working on a piece that is deeply personal to you, with an open concept and the ability for you to make all the creative decisions, but you still have it in you right now to write your story.
Don’t let the fear of failing, the pressure of performing for your future, or the excuses of not being in the ideal location or having the ideal time to write stop you from creating something amazing. You can write in the middle of a grocery store, during a concert, or even while you’re working. (Ok. That last one may be a stretch but I work retail and have found ways to sneak in a quick thought or two on my notes app.) If you get an amazing idea while you’re driving, don’t lose it because you aren’t in a place that lends itself to actually writing. Make a voice recording that you can reference whenever you get where you’re going. If you really want to write, you will create the ideal time and place wherever you are instead of waiting for it to find you.
It goes without saying that a lot of writers have an idea of what their ideal writing circumstances would be, but it is time to throw those out the window. You need to be strict with yourself and write right now. One day,, you may get that cabin in the woods or the perfect day off to write your story. Until that day, put your nose to the grindstone and start chipping away at that story while it is still in your brain.
About the author: Aly Rosema is a college student currently working towards her BS in Writing. When she isn't doing homework or writing short stories, she likes to bake and have dance parties with her little sister. You can find Aly on Twitter @RosemaAlyson.