Windows are my gateway to the world. Ever since childhood I have been a daydreamer and window watcher. Train windows, airplane windows, waiting room windows, classroom windows, car windows. Looking back at all of the places I have lived over the years, my desk has always been near a window. 2020’s desk placement is no exception. I wish I could say the same for the various desks at my day jobs, but alas many have been in enclosed, windowless places.
But, since this is a blog in a writing group, lets talk about desks near windows. I know some who find being near a window too distracting. Others aren’t picky and don’t seem to care either way about desk placement. I will be frank: my writing process is slow because I do not plot out my books in advance, so when I sit down to write, the page truly is a blank slate. I tend to peer out the window for a while as I decide where the story will go, then I write in a sprint, and look back out the window to figure out what happens next. 2020 and the pandemic-related shut downs have relegated me full time to my home desk, and I have become accustomed to the daily patterns of my neighborhood that I was not aware of before.
While always keenly aware of the slight daily changes to plants as the seasons change, I have had a front row seat to the birch tree outside as its leaves returned in the spring, thrived during the summer, and then turned yellow and brown over the last few weeks.
Meanwhile, the brugmansia tree (stay with me, I promise I have a point), normally thick with leaves and potently fragrant flowers, has not fared well this year and struggles to replace the leaves it dropped in June. I can’t help but relate this ratty looking tree to the current state of the nation. For many of us, the last four years (and for some, the last 400 hundred years) have been a real slog. As a whole, we have been through a lot.
So, what does this all have to do with writing? It’s about inspiration and awareness. Each writer has to figure out what environment helps them be the most creative, as well as what inspires them. Once you’ve found that best place to write, you need fuel to feed the fire. Whether it is the rage inside you at the current administration, or frustration about lack of wheelchair accessible sidewalks in your town… or maybe writing is a bit of escapism, so you paint lovely pictures of romance or a utopian future.
Whatever the motivation or intent behind your writing, don’t forget to stop and really pay attention to the little things, because those little details will pass along to your readers and make their experience that much better.
What’s outside your window?
Liz Faraim writes contemporary lesbian fiction with a focus on feisty women who won’t back down. Her first novel, Canopy, is now available.