How Do I Write Thee? ( with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, How Do I Love Thee, Sonnet 43)

Not too long ago, I saw an interview with a writer who claims to do his best writing in unique, beautiful settings or on a cruise ship. He claimed these venues inspired and informed his writing. They even had pictures of him actually writing while in one of those beautiful places!

I admire that quality. At one time, I found I could easily focus on a specific task (balancing my check-book, listening to my child, correcting student work, writing letters) while sitting on the living room floor with the television blaring. I literally did not hear what the television was broadcasting, so strong was my focus.

I imagine, with my ability to shut out the world and focus on a task, if I tried to actually write while in one of those beautiful settings, the beauty would be lost on me. That’s why we have photos – they allow for delayed inspiration.

I find I no longer can focus on one task in the face of chaos – or maybe it’s just that I’ve redefined “chaos”.  I need a quieter, less demanding environment in order to write. I recently completed a first draft of a picture book. After reading it aloud, I find I really don’t care for the story. I feel obligated to attempt to “fix” the draft, mostly because of time already spent on the task. Perhaps it’s time for a little “delayed inspiration.”


Orchids found in one of Hawaii’s botanical gardens. Now that’s inspiration!