In March each year I make the pilgrimage to Adelaide to the alternative universe that is WOMADelaide (World Music, Arts and Dance Adelaide). It’s a four day global music festival in Adelaide’s Botanic Park. I usually don’t know most of the bands and there are always several new discoveries for me that get added to my play list. Without WOMAD I would not have found the desert sounds of Aziza Brahim whose roots are in the Sahrawi refugee camp in Algeria, the indie pop of Lake Street Dive and the uplifting South African a cappella group, The Soil. All of whom have enriched my music collection.
When the Adelaide thermometer is turned up high, WOMAD can be tough and dusty. There are times when you need to find a shaded spot away from the crowds and stimulation to chill out. The park provides plenty of beautiful big old trees under which you can park yourself and do some writing.
I generally prefer silence when I write, but have spent most of the last two years writing on the bus on the way to work and have learnt to detach myself from background noise. A creative space, like a music festival, can be quite stimulating for the imagination also. One day I will set a story at a festival I expect.
Many writers have found inspiration away from the desk. Gertrude Stein often wrote from the drivers seat of her Model T Ford, Agatha Christie liked to plot in her Victorian bath eating apples and my personal favourite Sir Walter Scott penned his epic poem Marmion whilst riding his horse through the Scottish hillside.
Some writers require a very specific environment in which to work, some must have silence, some noise. The writers idiosyncrasies about the place where they write is curious given that when fully absorbed and writing well the place disappears into oblivion altogether. One wonders if it is the place that creates the ambiance for writing or the writers superstition that they can only find their creative muse in a particular environment that drives attachment to a setting.
Perhaps it is the simple act of creating a routine and habit that is the key to a writers creative and productive endeavors and the place and physical trappings are simply props. As EB White, the author of Charlotte’s Web famously said, “The writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
Where do you like to write? What are your rituals and habits? How and why do they help your writing?
Image: WOMAD 2015