Writing in the City

I don’t know about you, but I live in a big city. In fact, the entire country is one big city. In places like this, inspiration is pretty hard to come by. By the way, when I say pretty, I usually mean very. There’s hardly a quiet moment for one to sit down and let her imagination run wild, let alone weave out a thread of events that could potentially unravel into one of the finest works derived through passivity.

There is something to be said about people and nature, if the act of sitting under a tree could cause a person’s neurons to fire up brilliant ideas – and I’m not just talking about the revered physicist who’d literally received a hard knock on the head doing so, but people who dream up pictures and translate them into words that others translate back into pictures.

Phoenix Park, Dublin

Phoenix Park, Dublin

Having said that, isn’t it only natural for people to be surrounded by nature? I guess something went wrong down the evolution pathway that began drawing us further and further away. Hence, the dawn of the pasty girl who lives on Doritos and the Internet. Somehow, I feel that being close to nature gives us the inspiration to create, to impress upon the world a conjuring in return for the beauty it has given us.

Nevertheless, I can’t emphasise enough that living in a concrete jungle does provide us with sufficient fodder to work on. It’s just that there’s something missing. I guess we could all work on sci-fi epics in which the world has been taken over by smartphones and human beings are slaves of the technology they’d created years ago – which in my opinion isn’t too far off. These would make thought-provoking pieces that give us that sense of impending doom (that strangely, many of us are after). However, the most beautiful pieces of written work usually involve depictions of the natural environment, be it the landscape or the weather.

Many writers and writing sites tell us that writing involves lots of sweat and working your butt off. However, and I can personally vouch for this, a writing that one truly enjoys comes first with that spark of inspiration. A setting, a conversation, a character, either one of these will do. There has to be something that makes you itch to put it down in words. Only then does the hard work come in. By then, the work doesn’t seem that strenuous anymore. In fact, if you could stay up all night writing it, perfecting it, you would.

I’m not trying to undermine those words of wisdom, because it’s true that with practice, one becomes better at their craft. After participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in April, I’ve finally understood the amount of work that gets into writing a novel. The month of mistake-laden word-banging is not going to create an instant work of art and I’m sorry to say that my novel will never see the world. However, it was practice and I do hope that when I figure out where Muse lives (Greece?), the words will flow ever more freely.

“If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer.”

– Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

Until then, I’ll have to continue searching and prying myself away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the discomforting stillness of the suburban. I get the feeling that she’s avoiding these places.


2 thoughts on “Writing in the City

  1. I live out in the middle of nowhere. My nearest neighbor is a mile away & the nearest paved road is 4 miles away. I agree that being outside and just listening to nature gets the creative juices flowing. But at the same time being in the city late at night does the same thing.

    • That’s really incredible to me, being far away from civilisation. I can only imagine how peaceful it is. My favourite part of day is definitely after midnight when the world quietens down and I can finally work on things, but it gets pretty difficult to haul myself off to work the next day.

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