I could write the best book here.
Bird calls break the sleepy silence as a golden sky heralds the rising sun.
Right outside my window, trees burst with pink and white blossoms.
Stirring chocolate creamer into my coffee, I smile with certainty.
I could write the best book here.
The Allure of a Cabin in the Woods
It’s tempting to imagine the book we could write … would write … if only we had a cabin in the woods to retreat to and just write.
For most writers, this “cabin in the woods” is a mythical idea. But you can make it real: if not an actual location, then an intentional mindset.
In brainstorming with a few writer friends for this article, I realized that “a cabin in the woods” symbolizes three core needs every writer has . Here’s how you can fulfill these three needs, no matter where you are.
1 — Surround Yourself with Beauty
Set up a creative space with sights, scents, and textures you love.
Intentionally use positive triggers, such as:
- lighting pine-scented candle
- playing a CD of bird songs sounds
- draping a nubby knit blanket across your lap
Select things that truly inspire you and create a writing atmosphere for you.
Don’t waste time, energy, and money on things you read about that other authors like in hopes that doing exactly what they do will turn you into a real writer.
Find and do what works for you.
2 — Set Clear Boundaries
Boundaries communicate what you will and won’t do.
Susy Flory wears a hat when she writes. When her kids were little and asked her why she wore the hat, she told them, “It’s keeping my brain warm and helping me write.” Susy’s hat-wearing habit has become a visual writing boundary.
Another way to set boundaries as a writer is to schedule writing hours … and stick to them. Block out writing time on your schedule and communicate it to your family.
I’ve made a sign that says “Cabin Hours: 7:30 AM – 10:30 AM” as a reminder to myself, and my family, when I will be writing each weekday morning. Which (theoretically) means I won’t be checking text messages, returning emails, making phone calls, or hopping on Facebook.
When you’re writing on deadline, clear writing boundaries are especially vital to combat interruption and foster focus.
3 — Create a Bubble
A bubble is all about what you do and don’t allow in your writing space.
If you’re writing at home, filter out home responsibilities. Face a wall or window, if necessary, so you can’t see that pile of dirty dishes or overgrown lawn.
Put on headphones to block out distracting sounds and pipe in the music or white noise that puts you in your writing zone.
Shut doors to block out the sights and sounds of anything you feel you should be doing or could be doing instead of writing.
Give yourself permission to just write.
No Matter Where You Are
Sure, running away to a secluded cabin in the woods where you can write without interruption sounds amazing.
But here in the land of reality, you will develop an intentional “cabin in the woods” mindset when you
- Surround yourself with beauty
- Set clear boundaries
- Create a bubble
And the best thing about an intentional mindset like this:
It’s yours to take with you, wherever you go.
Cheri Gregory is co-author with Kathi Lipp of Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity and founder of Write Beside You author coaching and manuscript development services. Connect with Cheri via Voxer (cherigregory), Facebook, or Email (cheri@WriteBesideYou.com).