Writing may be for the most part a solitary endeavor, but it doesn’t have to keep us tied to a desk every day. A park bench or a garden swinger can be a setting just as good for our writing.
What stops us from writing outside?
From leaving our desk and making the world our office?
If it is not rain or snow or commodity, then it is surely the screen.
The reflective screens of most laptops don’t handle the outdoors that well. The glare of the sun makes them either hard to read or tiring on the eyes. And then there’s the battery to worry about.
That’s why when I write outside I prefer the Alphasmart Neo2. If you haven’t heard about this curious contraption, let me just say that it is a discontinued typing gadget that looks more like an outsize calculator than a computer. And on its keys it has letters instead of numbers.
The screen is admittedly small, but you get used to it fast — it can display up to six lines of text, which is more than enough for your writing to flow. And the best part is that it runs on three AAA batteries, which can last for months of daily use.
Being kept indoors by work every day can really take the fun out of writing. But we can take our writing to the park or to the backyard or even to some train or plane bound for some other country.
Okay, we usually won’t write as much outdoors as indoors, as sooner or later something is bound to interrupt us. A pretty girl leaving in her wake the echo of her heels, the garbage car rattling down the street, or simply a mind-boggling numbness in the small of our back, a rude reminder of the bench we are sitting on.
But the fresh (if not always cleaner) air, the change of scenery, the twittering of the birds, and the extra walking that we may have to do are all worth the trouble.
Best of all, writing outdoors will make you feel pretty damn good about being a writer, and if solitude happens to creep on you, outdoor writing will make it not only bearable but pleasant.
Writing outdoors can be wonderful. I know it’s hard to get started with it — it took me years, even though I had a garden all this time — but wherever you live, you should be able to find a park or garden that will suit the purpose.
PS: And while I write outside, I often have good company…
And no, he’s not dead. Or in pain. Cat dreams, I suppose…