How Does Your Environment Affect Your Writing?

This morning I woke up to a beautiful sight. I live in a wooded community, and we had snow last night. This morning the snow was still sticking to the trees. That's rare. It gets windy up here, so snow usually blows off the trees right away.

The view made me think about how this environment sometimes impacts my writing.

The view this morning outside my office window was gorgeous. And mornings like this put me in a relaxed state where I tend to get a lot of writing done. It's quiet. It's peaceful. It's beautiful. You can't go wrong.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the circumstances), that isn't always the case. The woods aren't always so lovely. Sometimes they're downright scary, especially during storms when these monstrous trees sway so hard they look like toothpicks on the verge of snapping. We've had huge branches come crashing down. We've heard the wind howling through the trees some like some demonic creature was on the loose.

We also live at the end of our road on a cul-de-sac. That means there's only one way out. Neighbors are close enough to see, but not close enough to hear you scream unless they're hanging around outside. And we've been dealing with a seemingly crazy neighbor for over a year who almost randomly decides to terrorize us and other neighbors with extreme noise levels and gun-related harassment. As beautiful as it is, it can feel like a pretty scary place to live sometimes.

Normally that's unfortunate. It's not what we expected when we moved here. I was just looking forward to a quiet place to write and a place where we could be left alone.

But sometimes it's the fearful elements that make it easier to write. That's especially true when I'm working on my mystery novel or any work in the horror genre (like the short story series I'm working on now). My environment makes it possible for me to physically experience the same kinds of fear I sometimes write about. And while it's not a pleasant feeling at the time, I feel like it gives my writing more authenticity.

In my case my environment affects my writing in different ways depending on how it makes me feel on any given day. This morning that means I have a quiet writing haven and I'll have a productive day editing a children's book manuscript and blogging. Later, as the sun goes down and the neighbors likely come around, that comfort will be gone. And I'll use that time to finish the first draft of one of my horror short stories and a new chapter or two in the mystery novel.

How does your writing environment affect your work?

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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6 thoughts on “How Does Your Environment Affect Your Writing?”

  1. Jenn, I’ve been fortunate to live in rural or semi-rural areas for much of my life, and I think the beauty and quiet have definitely helped my writing.

    I did have one situation where I had some sketchy neighbors, but nothing bad happened.

    • Glad to hear that John. It’s been a bit complicated with the neighbors around here, but thankfully it’s also been a bit better over the last couple of months. And our township is finally trying to do something about the situation (after complaints from quite a few neighbors). So with any luck I’ll get more peace soon. If it weren’t for that issue, this would be an incredibly beautiful and peaceful place to live and write.

  2. Although I’m in the city, I’m on one of San Diego’s canyons and get to see trees, birds, and even hawks… I know, they’re birds, but special ones.

    Not scary here, unless the wind’s blowing hard enough to make me worry about those trees – doesn’t happen often.

    • They definitely are special Anne. I love watching them. Those and the woodpeckers are some of my favorites here. 🙂

      The wind can be frightening here too. When Sandy came through I had to get something off the back deck. The moment I stepped outside I was terrified and had to stay against the building. It was dizzying. The wind pushed me around and the trees are very tall here. They were swaying so hard it almost looked like they were circling the house, and some of the biggest looked like they could snap like twigs. That storm uprooted some huge ones both in the woods and on the tree farm behind our house.

  3. Hi Jennifer, very interesting post! You are right, environment does really have an impact on our writing whether consciously or unconsciously. Although I try not to let my environment deter my creativity if it is not quite “right”, I like to wait til the mood is right to write if I can. Also, I’m realizing that not only is creating quality content important, it is also equally important to have a solid content marketing strategy or your great content may never be heard. This hit me over the head like a ton of bricks when I read the complete guide to content marketing by webris This is all very eye-opening stuff for me. I really like your site and will bookmark it future reference. Thanks a mil!


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