Write Where You Are

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, writing 2 Comments

By Kathryn Haueisen

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

I live in one of the flatter regions of the country, and prefer to lift my eyes to the horizon across a lake or ocean, yet I gravitate to these verses when I need to settle myself to focus on the task at hand. I first learned this verse from my maternal grandmother. She inserted bits of scripture into everyday conversation. So immersed was she in her faith, that phrases from scripture were part of her daily vocabulary. I can still hear her saying this, though she left this world decades ago.

As I left my adolescent years behind, I formed a mental picture of how my adult life would unfold. I would marry and we would have a half dozen children. I would write away the hours not need to manage the children and household. I would work in a lovely sun-lite home office, with a picture window overlooking the pasture where a few horses would graze. I and members of my family would ride horses along trails through the woods behind this imaginary home.

In high school I wrote in my room at the desk my father gave me. In the first home we bought as a young married couple, I wrote at the built-in desk in the kitchen. My high school desk stayed behind in my parents’ home. I wrote a few minutes here and there when the girls were asleep or playing peacefully around the corner in the living room. At the next home I wrote in the basement coal-bin-converted-to-an-office. It was small, but it was quiet.

A half-dozen decades later, I write in a bedroom-turned-home-office. I again write on the desk I had when I lived in my parents’ home. The window is fairly large. It overlooks the wood fence that separates us from the neighbors, whose home is perhaps twenty feet away from ours. No horses. But when I keep the birdfeeders filled, I see cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, a woodpecker, and even an occasional hummingbird. A few determined squirrels, performing amazing acrobatic feats to raid the birds’ food, profit entertainment. The many feral cats roaming our neighborhood stop by to taunt the resident dog by looking at him through the window. If dog Brandi is alert, I get a stretch break as he demands I let him out to chase the trespassing cats out of the yard. While this is amusing, it is not conducive to focused attention to the current work in progress.

A dedicated writer can craft stories and articles in a plethora of places. I’ve recently finished the Mayflower Chronicles manuscript. In my research for this historical fiction, I learned my great-back-12-generations grandfather, William Brewster also wrote, and even ran a small publishing business for a few years. He wrote in a small English village, the beautiful city of Leiden in the Netherlands, on the Mayflower, and in Plymouth. Thanks to detailed accounts his young friend, William Bradford wrote, we know a great deal about their lives when they established Plymouth Plantation 400 years ago this year.

I possess frequent visitor cards at coffee shops all over town. I enjoy writing around other people typing away on their keyboards. Though we do not know each other, their presence encourages me to keep my eyes on the screen and write away.

Once in a while I attend a retreat devoted exclusively to writing, with perhaps feedback from other retreat participants. If the weather is not above 100 degrees (it frequently is where I live) or blow 40, I do research and outlining in the car, usually parked where I’m looking at a wooded area near our home.

On a few vacations I’ve written on a porch overlooking a body of water, or a place where I can indeed lift my eyes to the hills. Doing so reminds me the same Lord – who made heaven and earth, who gave me this love of working with words, who made the hills, and the bodies of water, and the stars and pastures, horses, birds, squirrels, cats and dogs – this same Lord is with me wherever I write. This same Lord inspired Brewster, Bradford, and so very many others to write wherever they were.

In my mind I can still look through an imaginary window where I see an imaginary pasture with imaginary horses grazing. Reflecting on this version of my adult life that did not come to pass, reminds me there has always been a place where I could write. My ancestors wrote with quill by candle or kerosene lamp light. If they could manage to write down their thoughts where they were back then, surely, I can manage to write wherever I am today.

Wherever there’s a will to write, there will be a place available to do so. @AuthorKHaueisen #ACFWBlogs #writing #writingcommunity Click To Tweet

Kathryn Haueisen writes from Houston, Texas where she lives with her husband and their dog, Brandi. She cherishes visits with family and travels to explore new places. Her weekly blogs at www.HowWiseThen.com are about people and programs making the world a better place. Her first historical fiction Mayflower Chronicles: The Tale of Two Cultures will be published by Green Writers Press this year.



Comments 2

  1. I do not have an office
    with painterly north light;
    a kitchen counter must suffice,
    but that’s not where I write.
    The laptop’s on a riser,
    and I don’t have a chair,
    but I’ll leave you none the wiser,
    for nothing’s written there.
    I have no quiet solitude,
    for joyous dogs abound
    in their weirdness and their pulchritude
    and their constant wall of sound.
    No special place for writer’s art;
    my books are written in my heart.

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