I love the Merchant-Ivory film A Room with a View, which begins in the Pension Bertolini in Florence, Italy, where the characters played by Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith have gone to escape dreary old England. They find upon arriving that, alas, their hotel room has no view. You have to have a room with a view, they say. It’s the only way you can deeply experience Florence.
I have thought about this movie in the last few days because I am writing from Tremezzo, Italy, where my husband and I and our friends have a room with a glorious, postcard-perfect view of Lake Como, surely one of God’s grandest creations. My trip is more rich and satisfying because of our view. It truly is.
I rose early this morning and sat on our balcony and watched the sun rise from behind the Alps, illuminating the lake and revealing patches of mist that hovered over the water like wispy low clouds. What a way to start the day. When a writer friend of mine heard I was coming to this area, she told me about the time she and her husband spent six months on a research-writing sabbatical in Bellagio, which is just across the lake from Tremezzo. When I visited that charming town yesterday, I wondered how anyone could settle down to write with all that sense stimulation.
My husband and I began writing the first draft of Breathe Life into Your Life Story on a two-week “writing vacation” in Park City, Utah. The time away from the distractions of home helped us focus on our project and gave us a good start. Later, to give the project a boost in a particularly frustrating time in my life, I rented a small cabin in the Big Bear mountains for $35 a day from a friend of a friend. I got so much accomplished off on my own, I felt it was money well spent.
We have an adorable little dog, a Shih-Tzu named Emma, who has developed the habit of sleeping on our bed. (I know, we’re the ones at fault.) She often has difficulty settling down and wanders around our bed checking out this and that place before she finally circles around a spot that will be hers for the night. Writers often have a similar struggle settling down to do their business, needing to test various places before finding somewhere that suits their needs.
Where do you write most effectively? What tricks do you employ to transition to your writing projects? Take a minute to share what works for you.