My favorite place to write is in a coffee shop not far from my house. I think I’ve written eight books there. I go there tonight fully expecting to get my Nano 1,666 words on, and when I open the door I notice the place is packed. Not only that, there’s a scraggily guy with a ball cap and a guitar singing just near the front door. Selfishly, I was not happy.
Who are these people invading my creative spot? Since when did my coffee place turn into a nightclub? And the fact that there was nowhere to sit near an outlet ticked me off. I walked up to the counter and the barista says, “The usual?” I told her it depended on whether I could find a place to sit. Just when I was ready to leave, one of the regulars buys my latte. Grateful for his generosity, I decided to stick around and at least take a listen to what interrupted my date with dedication.
Turns out, I liked the music. Very new age meets folk with a splash of grunge. It was standing room only in the front, so I stood with my backpack and latte nodding my head to this guy’s adult alternative beat.
Finally, I saw a couple leave from the back and I took a seat, plugged in my laptop and thought about what to write. What came out was an unplanned scene with my main character going to his favorite bar only to find a band there. He hates the band . . . at first until he realizes that the band was in a way “warming up” the women and that it would be easier for him to find a date for the evening.
Okay, I write all that to explore the significance of going with the flow when we write. Of being flexible. The older I get, the easier it is for me to be rigid about things. I don’t want anything to disturb my groove once I get in it. But I wrote a great scene tonight. I took in my surroundings and dumped them right into my story. I was open to something new. I heard some great music. I typed to it. I was inspired by this singer’s ambition to tour and promote himself, and I was challenged to deviate from my plan and create anyway.
That’s what successful writers do . . . they write anyway. Tonight was a surprising success.