In a Land Far, Far Away: Finding Inspiration for Your Novel

Do you have a favorite "away" place to write? Sure, you can drop by the local coffee shop with the free wireless and the funky atmosphere. But is there a location that gives you "scope for the imagination", as Anne of Green Gables would say?

On Saturday, I was driving home from one of my monthly critique groups, when I had a revelation about one of my characters. It came out of the blue, this sudden knowledge. Turns out my likeable guy had a major disability that I was previously unaware of. It demanded to be written down.

 I happened to be driving past one of my favorite places in Colorado Springs--Garden of the Gods--so named by the Ute Indians. I pulled off at an overlook and pondered my new-found knowledge with the view, ending up writing a few pages about him.

There is something about a beautiful vista that makes the words flow far better than when I'm sitting in front of a computer screen (and it doesn't help that my writing room is windowless). Watching the color of the light on the rocks, the clouds shifting and changing, even feeling the air on my skin--gives me more sensory details than I would have come up with on my own.

My other favorite place to write, when I get the chance to visit, is Glen Eyrie, a retreat and conference center that happens to be right next door to Garden of the Gods. Their amazing property not only contains similar rock formations, but also boasts a beautiful castle. Perfect for writers of fairy tales, like me.

Next time you feel as if you're in a writing "dead end", try changing the scenery. Whether you go sit on a bench at the park and people-watch, or hike into the desert, a shift in your environment might be just the cure to get the words flowing.

Where is your favorite writing spot?


  1. I adore being outside, but I find it distracting - I have a tendency to close my eyes and just enjoy the sensations - a breeze on my face, the smell in the air, the sun on my skin. I get almost no writing done, though I find that I'm often inspired to write when I return from the outdoors.

    Also, I must visit Glen Eyrie! It looks wonderful!

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  3. This is the second photo of Garden of the Gods that looks magical to me. It doesn't look real, but I know it is. After my first visit, I understood why it was named that. Since moving to Colorado, I haven't found my "spot" yet. I just make do with the time my little one lets me have.
    (Oops found a typo and deleted the previous post. There could still be one here, but little guy is alerting me that nap time is ending ...)

  4. I'd love to write at the beach or something...but I'd be afraid my laptop would get sandy. LOL.

  5. I love to take my laptop out in the backyard and write there, on a quiet morning. But in practice, I rarely get a chance to do it since I notice something in the garden that needs work!

  6. Lots of times when I'm outside, the feel of the wind on my skin, or the sun on my face reminds me to describe these important details in my manuscript. It adds an extra layer. So even if I don't get much writing done, it helps me to 'write what I know'.




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