I’ve been a serial stalker of good places to write. Over the years, I’ve been obsessed so much about these literary camps and writer’s retreat that I know when are these camps happening and where. And I could really compile a list of those, but some other time. I found these camps terribly over-priced for the profession that they are catering too. Rs. 18000 for 3 days, Rs. 54000 for a week, so and so. These are there in the best of the locations in the country, they provide with some guides/mentors and fellow writers too. But perhaps you could do for cheaper, on your own, if travel and writing were your purposes.
I understand the feeling of wanting to run away. Apart from the fact that it sounds fancy, we haven’t otherwise been taught how to deal with chaos. Nor have we been taught to deal with solitude. That’s why we think that running away might help us write or do things we truly want to do. It might truly be the case. But you need to see how much bandwidth and energy you have to keep running.
But My Main Point is: Why Run Away?
If you have a terribly tormenting family (physical and mental violence), have no friend’s place where you can hangout, no public places or cafe; and absolutely miserable situations- you can run away. But otherwise (which is the case with most of us) you don’t need to run away.
Saadat Hassan Manto, one of the greatest short story writer of the century, used to write in the chaos of a Bombay chali (slum house).
A film about him is being made currently with Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing the lead and directed by Nandita Das. There would be kids roaming around, his wife calling out, and all sorts of chaos possible. At times, he would get worked up but most of the times, he was in love with this chaos. It actually helped him write better.
I’m lucky to have a senior Gujarati journalist as a friend and it’s absolutely inspiring how he works. He travels from Mahemdavad to Ahmedabad (2 hours in train round trip) and he spends that time in writing. The chatter of the neighbours, the infinite distractions around and the deafening sound of the train- nothing interferes with him. In a strange way, it somehow stimulates him to write. He has been a journalist for 21 years, a writer of 4 books and has a publishing house too.
The very idea is thrilling. If you look at the history, the greatest of the writers have transformed their individual misery or the circumstances they were in, to be a boon for their writing. Writers have written during-after-about Wars, Genocides, Rapes, Poverty, Emergency, Dying, Diseases, and what not!
Imagine, if chaos could not distract you, wouldn’t you be unstoppable? Plus there’s so much your writing can derive from the crowd, people, and observations.
List of Places That Could Work Out
- Corner in the House
- Public Transport
- Cafes, Restaurants, Clubs
- Friend’s Abode
- Libraries/Reading Rooms
- Beaches, Hill-top, Mountains, River Bank, Pool Side
- Choose Your Most Productive Time
Some people say, “I am a Morning Person” and other say, “I’m a Night Owl”. Whatever works best for you, should be the designated time for your writing. Squeeze a space, make a habit and keep going on. Turn the WiFi off (if your writing doesn’t need it) and see the magic. I’m writing one blog a day since Mar 1, 2017. For a person who couldn’t even write one post a month, this was pretty much overwhelming, to begin with. But it worked.
For a Fact: Amitabh Bachchan wrote his first blog on 17th Apr 2008 and has written one blog each day for 9 years! Basically, if you can make it a habit, nothing like it.
However, it is difficult to do this on Day 1. You may have to talk to your loved ones and teach them how to respect your writing. You may have to turn your notifications off and focus on just that. It happens slowly and gradually. But it begins with accepting the chaos, and not getting irritated with it. Initially, it could seem to be as difficult as letting a fly sit on your face and doing nothing about it. With time, it may get easier.
Happy Writing. Let me know if this helped or didn’t. I’m also in the same pursuit.