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Change of writing location

December 12, 2011

Last week I challenged my adult writing class to change their writing location.  Their task was to choose either a new indoor or outdoor location to write in e.g. a different room in the house, a cafe/restaurant or a park.  Due to the inclement weather nobody chose to write outside.  One of the students retired to her bedroom where she found silence away from the TV (the normal background music to her writing activity), and wrote about the places of interest that she likes to show visitors in Darlington.  She took us on a sightseeing tour which started at the train station and ended at the brick train.

Much laughter ensued when we discovered that three of the others had found themselves writing in Darlington Memorial Hospital whilst attending various appointments.  The exercise was to observe the setting for 15 minutes, then to write about it for 15 minutes.  The medical environment had a major impact on one student’s writing leading her to use latin-based nouns and verbs, and to produce long, convoluted sentences.   We all agreed that it was a good way to pass the time in waiting rooms.

I put a different spin on the task by writing in the car in a car park for an hour between engagements.  I used the steering wheel as a lectern, put pen to paper and came up with the first draft of a story about chocolate that had been bubbling away in the back of my mind for a while.  Chocolate is not my normal source of inspiration but I have noticed that several competitions next year are using chocolate as their theme and I wanted to find out what I could write on the subject.  So, the writing task for me involved a change of location, a change of subject and a change of time –  I tend to write rough drafts first thing in a morning rather than later in the afternoon.

On Thursday I am flying to Lanzarote, a country I last visited eighteen years ago.  I must remember to pack a pen and paper to capture my thoughts and observations on location.  I hope not to repeat last year’s experience of writing to pass the time away during a ten hour wait for the plane to be repaired.  I’ve yet to find a use for the notice board-based poem that I came up with that day.  Instead, I hope to be inspired by the volcanic landscape and the setting of artist Cesar Manrique’s house.  I’ll take a few photographs to share with you upon my return.


From → Creative Writing

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