Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Write Habitat

Where do you feel most comfortable doing what you love to do? Today, my guest is Christine DePetrillo, a writer, educator, and environmentalist, shares her preferences.

Many idiosyncrasies emerge when one decides to be a writer. Only a certain brand and style of notebook is acceptable for story notes and research. Only a specific pen will capture a character’s line of dialogue stolen from a conversation overheard in line at the supermarket. Only the right pair of sweatpants will truly allow a writer to loosen up enough to let the story unfold as it pleases.

Only the “write” habitat will give birth to a writer’s best work. This includes the area a writer feels most like an author.

For me, I have two spots I would consider my Ultimate Write Habitats. The first is in my certified backyard wildlife habitat. In the spring, summer, and early days of fall, you’ll find me with my trusty laptop on the patio in one of the wooden Adirondack chairs my husband made. Around me the sounds and sights of nature inspire and cheer me on while I wrestle with words on the page.

Cardinals, bluejays, black-capped chickadees, sparrows, finches, and my favorite, the Northern Flicker woodpecker, swoop in for a visit at the two feeders and birdbath in my backyard. Their combined songs produce the perfect soundtrack for an afternoon filled with developing characters, ironing out plot problems, puzzling through beginnings, endings, and everything that comes in between. It is here that I feel so connected with the Earth, myself, and what it is I’m trying to achieve with whatever story I’m working on.

The second Ultimate Write Habitat is in Vermont. A little more than a year ago, my husband and I purchased some property in this beautiful New England state. It was one of those events in life where you know you have just done something that will forever change the way you live. Right now we are in the process of remodeling the property, transforming it from a wood-paneling and flowered wallpaper 1970s disaster into a rustic, nature-inspired getaway. When I write here, there are no distractions from the modern world. No television, no Internet, no phone calls. Nothing but my characters and whatever they want to do. In the quiet of the northern woods and with a view of the White Mountains, tales are born.

Of course, I have an indoor spot too for those times when writing outside just isn’t feasible—my reclining couch where you’ll usually find a cat on each armrest, a pair of headphones in my ears, and a cup of tea on the end table.

My point is writers need a writing space. A place where they feel comfortable and ready to compose. An area all to themselves where they can slip into their characters’ shoes, forget the real world for a little while, and immerse themselves in the craft of writing. The best thing you can do for yourself as a writer is to find your Write Habitat.

For more information about creating your own certified wildlife habitat, visit the National Wildlife Federation. Even if you don’t have a ton of acreage, you can still make a habitat that will attract wildlife.

For a taste of what Christine has been writing in her Write Habitats, visit her at her website www.christinedepetrillo.blogspot.com


Mona Risk said...

Hi Christine, It must be nice to write outdoors. For me it's my office, my desk and quiet. There are too many distractions otherwise. Plus the glare on my laptop screen is annoying.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

What a great place you've found to write! You've reminded me that I need to buy more sunflower seed today. :)

My life is so chaotic now that I find myself writing on the go...stoplights, deli lines, while waiting for a friend to meet me for coffee, pediatric wait rooms. I'm hoping one day to dedicate a space for me and my writing!


Terry said...

What a wonderful spot for writing you have. And love the dancing polar bears on your site!

I'm lucky I have a nice room to write in and a spot outside with an overhang and ceiling fans (Florida) to write on my laptop. I'd like to write on the quiet, nearby beach but the glare on the laptop, even with the bonnet, is too much.

Enjoyed your post.

Terry said...

Oops, I meant to say, the other Terry, to avoid confusion. Sorry!

Chris said...

I hear you on the laptop glare. I write under a patio umbrella. My Irish skin doesn't like to bake in the sun anyway, so I reduce glare and protect flesh all in one shot. :)

Elizabeth, although I prefer the Write Habitats I wrote about, I spend a great deal of time "writing" in line at the grocery store, in my car, in the shower...let's just go ahead and say EVERYWHERE! I'm most productive and relaxed though in the spots I mentioned in my post.

Chris said...

BTW, thanks, Terry for having me on your blog!

Terry Odell said...

Christine, it's been my pleasure to have you as my guest. Thanks for sharing. I'd probably have to put myself in the 'distracted when outdoors' camp - but then, I'm not fond of the heat, humidity & bugs in my yard.

Jemi Fraser said...

Absolutely lovely! Can I come? :)

Chris said...

Sure, all are welcome! :)

That Vermont picture is actually the view from the great room window of our place.