• Prompt: All the Places You’ve Written

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in ABCs of Writing     Comments 26 comments



    Discussion questions: This week I want us to take a look at some of the memorable places we’ve written, whether they’re former favorite writing spots or one-time stolen moments during our travels, or even during our everyday lives. Write about the places you’ve written! And like last time, feel free to share a photo.




    Last week, during our discussion of our writing spaces, a comment from Charles grabbed my attention as an excellent topic for a related prompt:

    “I don’t have an ‘ideal’ writing space,” Charles wrote. “I have many! … I have written in my car at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, at the stern of a pitching icebreaker off the Norwegian coast in February.”

    We talked about the place we write, so now let’s talk about the places we have written.

    What are some of the most interesting or memorable settings in which you’ve written? A former version of “your writing space,” maybe, or a more exotic locale during your travels when you stole a moment to write about the experience. Even a mundane train or plane ride where you had a major creative breakthrough.

    Describe the setting and why it sticks out in your memory. What did you write there, and why was it such a meaningful experience? Or write about the opposite: A place where you thought you’d have a meaningful writing experience but it didn’t pan out.

    Take this prompt in whatever direction you’d like, and then share the results with us in the comments below.



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    WriteByNight writing coach and co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectivesand others.



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    Bill Hamilton

    It’s been a struggle for quite some time. The last place I’ve written was in my dreams.

    Bill Hamilton

    David, thanks for your reply and sorry for starting this prompt off with my sob story. We have all experienced this, I feel certain. Of late I am focused on one portion of my story, trying to make it perfect instead of getting the first draft finished. I know I need not do this but it seems I don’t take my own advice.


    Slightly different versions of the same place–college classrooms. When I “returned to college” I spent much time in the little desk-chairs taking night classes. Several of these classes (Lit, Religion, Civics) required much writing. I took several tests that consisted only of a question or two, but I spent three or four hours of constant writing in answering. This is memorable because I entered this time of higher education with the deliberate intention of writing as well as I could in all classes (because classroom writing had always intimidated me). The classroom environment also intimidated me, but I found that… Read more »


    Aye. Variations on a theme.

    Barbara Mealer

    I haven’t written all over the world but I have all over the USA. While traveling for almost 2 years on my motorcycle and camping, I wrote in the evenings. I actually finished three books and published one while traveling. So I’ve written while at Acadia National Park, Yellowstone and the Grand Teton, Glacier National Park, Denali National Park, Death Valley, Yosemite, Sequoia National Park, while doing the Natchez Trace Parkway and the Blue Ridge Parkway, El Paso where I had to redo my one book, Carlsbad Caverns (I actually made some notes on my phone while in the caverns).… Read more »

    Barbara Mealer

    I’m about 20 miles from Williams, AZ. I live outside of Ash Fork. Williams does have breathtaking scenery and is only 62 miles from the Grand Canyon (and yes, I’ve been there more than once.) Definitely different than S. Florida…lol

    Charles Dikmak

    I find myself compelled to write in those places with a powerful emotional karma: Breakfast outdoors under the porch roof of Parkers Maple Barn in the snow in New Hampshire, y’all know about the pitching icebreaker in northern Norwegian seas last Feb, my 3rd floor room of the Waterford Inn in Provincetown waiting to see my step-daughter I last saw 25 years ago, mid-shift in the kitchen of a Boston homeless shelter where I worked for 3 years, Crane Beach at 7:00 a.m. on a Monday morning, Symphony Hall in Boston on a snowy Saturday night….I have a long list!

    Charles Dikmak

    That one word you used “feeling” ! Is how and why I write, just as you pointed out it’s a feeling of a place, something that pulls at the heart that makes a place good for writing. Somehow variables of food and drink, lighting, like the long rays of a Sunday afternoon in November that creates that timeless quality, the worn leather of a old bar seat, the smells, the spirits that haunt a place ….P-Town in particular is full of these! As was your spot in the Radisson! These places seem to have both sadness and joy, past anniversary parties,… Read more »

    Charles Dikmak

    Hmmmm, that’s an interesting thought….I’ll concoct an Ode to the Barstool

    david lemke

    No exotic places, a few hotel rooms, a few cafes…Writing roughly a page or better a day for several months now.

    Elissa Malcohn

    I’ve written in approximately a bazillion memorable places. Here’s a sampler for which I’ve been able to (fairly easily) retrieve both writing excerpts and photos. Where it began: Tuesday Aug 31 Today we went to the country. We went camping. I caught a baby frog. We visited Grandma. Then I played Bingo. I won a Book. I saw a Deer. — 1965, written inside a Department of Education, The City of New York, Elementary School Record No. 9 Teacher’s Note Book (dressed in a cover made by my father). Diary spans July 4-Sept. 10. *** Gorham Hotel, New York City, 1983:… Read more »

    Elissa Malcohn

    Rooms and houses with dark wood paneling typically show up in my dreams, probably inspired by the Woburn place. My living room (and writing space) in the in-law apartment I rented in Cambridge was also paneled and had a steeply-pitched ceiling. Add the window overlooking greenery and the whole thing felt like a treehouse.

    The Gorham was amazingly cheap to stay in and was around the corner from Carnegie Hall. Room came with a kitchenette. I spent a couple of nights there during a month where I basically couch-surfed before resettling in MA.

    The full moose story occurs on May 4, 1990:

    MJ DelConte

    When I travel, I carry a trio of “weapons”: my notebook, cell phone, and tablet. I rarely get away to write because I have a great space at home to do so. But experience has taught me to be prepared when I’m not at home because that’s when ideas seem to strike. I’ve jotted everything from ideas to full-blown scenes using one of these mediums in places like the Smoky Mountains (TN); log cabin overlooking a lake in Heyward, WI; San Francisco, CA; and plenty of places in-between and at all times of the day and night. My muse has… Read more »

    Kevin F Wozniak

    I always loved Sinclair Lewis’s essay “How I Wrote A Novel On Trains and Beside the Kitchen Sink”. Basically, he would snatch an hour where- and whenever he could. Leaning on the kitchen sink in the morning while his son had his bottle, on the train to NYC, during a lunch break in the park…he could usually get in a solid two hours per day. I can relate, because I got a heck of a lot done on NJ Transit trains and buses. I can work in public, as long as no one bothers me and I can fade into… Read more »


    forfeck, head, cockpit, spreaders (only in calm weather and at anchor)

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