Some Influences on Your Writing

Environment and Your Mood

By Annette Rey

Have you noticed the emotional effect that varying environments produce on your mood? When I view luscious environments in the background on television shows, I am aware of the feelings those scenes evoke in me.

As a help to enrich your writing, begin to focus on emotional changes inside you related to environment. Think more introspectively about your feelings. Put these feelings into words.

Let’s look at some ways to accomplish this. 

The first step is to go into an activity in your writer’s state of mind. Train yourself to consciously notice how change of scene affects you. Even moving from room to room in your house, when you are conducting daily tasks, ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now?” When you arrive at an answer, ask yourself “And why am I feeling this way? What is influencing me?” This is an exercise that helps you get in the habit of searching within yourself.

You can notice how you feel when watching a television show. I view the storyline as secondary and concentrate on the scenes behind the actors. The writer in me admires elaborate personal offices, super-tall and wide windows on one wall, glass doors that open onto balconies or beach fronts. I ever peruse the outdoor scenery. Towering bookcases filled with leather bound books make me envious. I notice glass-enclosed cases displaying treasures of the owner. Direct lighting onto art work also throws shadows, flowing drapes on the wall of windows imply movement, warm lamp lighting on side tables adds to the ambiance that encourages my writer self. Offices with heavy, dark, wood panels all the way up the walls and with beamed ceilings give me feelings of protection and comfort.  

If the scene has a substantial, ornate desk, anchored by an East Indian rug, and space moving out from the desk that includes reading areas beside a roaring fire, my writer’s juices flow. It thrills me to see an office that resembles a library with rolling ladders for access to high shelves. How I would like to go into my writer’s head immersed in such an atmosphere. 

Scenes influence feelings.

Pastel-colored painted walls, scattered vases of flowers which catch natural light make me want to write about animals, miracles, and uplifting stories about people. 

Conversely, in a room heavy with furniture and deep colors, I want to write dark, melancholy, crime, with a cynical perspective on man’s motives. 

Since I am land bound, when by the sea I feel a slight mental paralysis. I’m in an environment with which I am not familiar. My creative brain is a little unsteady. Even though I love the shore, I need time to adapt for writing.

In the woods, surrounded by trees and bird calls, a peace stills my spirit, my breathing eases, I could fall to sleep if I allowed it. In that environment I can write about love, human purpose, reasons for life, symphony of attachment to the human race. All the while, I realize it’s the love of nature that brings me to appreciate mankind.

I draw from what surrounds me. 

I’m in a different mood when I go to the public library. Just to be surrounded by so many books is uplifting. Yet, libraries also feel dungeon-like to me because tall shelves in narrow aisles block anything but fluorescent light.

Variety in environment freshens my mind. That’s why I advise crawling out of your usual writing spot and, with writing in mind, target a place to visit. Have your feet touch the ground. Go to a park, a mall (but, don’t shop), a doctor’s building, a hospital, a restaurant (only order a drink). Look around you and write what you see. Ask yourself how this location affects you.

You think where you are sitting, you are seeing everything. Change your perspective. Stand. Rotate your body 360 degrees. Look closely. Notate what you see and hear. Then write about it. Write about the total experience. Write about the approach of doing it as an exercise. Finally, write what you are feeling, emotionally and physically.

It may be a boring environment, but that just makes writing about it more of a challenge.

This exercise will improve your introspection ability and observation skills.

What are your methods to wake your muse?



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