“I Am Writing,” Translates to “Get Lost”

Let me begin by saying two things:

  1. Miss Rosemary’s Novel Ideas received the highest number of hits in its history on Tuesday. I thank you all for reading.
  2. I love London.
Regent's Park London

Image via Wikipedia

My college is situated right in the middle of Regent’s Park (I’m not kidding, check it out) which is in the centre (note the spelling) of London and means I am right near a whole bunch of really cool stuff.

But details on that can be found on the London Blog.

However all this international travel, getting used to classes again (what? I have to do school work?) and realizing that when people say the British can’t cook they are not lying is affording very little time to write. This does not by any means hinder the progress of Ensnared on Serial Central (you can read Part Three HERE). Posts will be updated accordingly on my end and the other stories are developing very nicely (well done ladies).

But this brings me to the question of where and when I find the appropriate setting for writing. When I am home in New York, I have a number of places. I.e. -my bedroom (the most common area), the living room, the screened-in porch (pronounced as “screen din” by most members of the family) and the backyard patio when it’s sunny out and I want to channel my Italian heritage and try to get a tan. Note the use of the word “try.” At school I frequent the pond past the library and other various hidden places around campus. Here, I have yet to find the right spot, and my writing is suffering.

Which brings me to wonder what encompasses the “right spot.” What about my surroundings makes me tick as a writer?

The answer lies in privacy.

It doesn’t matter what walls our gardens are surrounding me when I write. It doesn’t matter the beautiful or hideous scenery. I don’t give a hoot for the trees or the plants. All I care about is if people are watching me.

If people are watching me, I think they’re wondering what I’m doing. If they see my pen scratching, they want to know what I’m writing. “Is she a novelist?” “Is she writing a poem?” “Is she journaling?” “Is she writing about me?” “I’ll just go have a look-sie over her shoulder and find out.”


Of course most passers-by don’t really think like that, but those are the sort of situations that stumble through my head when I write around others.

I don’t write outside or in the living room if the family is home; I’ll stay in my room as the preferred alternative. The reason I like the pond is that it is set down a hill and basically completely obscured from the path; I am less likely to be disturbed. Why was I able to write in this new dorm room today but not yesterday? My roommate (whom I adore) wasn’t here during the “Writing Hours.”

There is something about solidarity that makes me write. I suppose, if I were to psychoanalyze myself, it has to do with – besides the paranoid scenarios above – focus. I care so much about my characters and stories that I want to give them my whole attention. I don’t want to risk being concerned with what other people might be thinking about me as I write. That takes away from the writing itself. I don’t want to be the mother who only listens to her kids with one ear. They want their story told and I want to do it well. If other people are around me, I can’t listen to what my characters are trying to say and do. And without them, where would my writing be? Best to give them my all and not risk being distracted.

Question of the day: Where is your writing place? Can you write around others?

Moral of the story: If you see me writing, scram!


About Miss Rosemary

is a recent college graduate from NY hoping to complete her novel of ten years. Stop by her blog, Miss Rosemary's Novel Ideas at http://missrosemary.net or contact her at MissRosemarysNovelIdeas@gmail.com with comments, questions and suggestions. She'd love to hear from you! View all posts by Miss Rosemary

40 responses to ““I Am Writing,” Translates to “Get Lost”

  • highheelsandslippers

    OMG am just a tad envious that you are in London!!! I’ve been trying to think of good places you could go to write but as I like writing in the hustle and bustle of cafe’s and book shops I probably can’t help much! The thing about London is that practically everywhere is busy and so you have to hide among the crowds – that’s where you find the privacy. Oh yes am definitely jealous – have fun!! 🙂

    • Miss Rosemary

      Haha! Oh the irony! Yes, I have noticed the hustle and bustle and while I like it on a personal level, on a writerly level, it’s not very good for me. I think I’ll just have to explore some places around the park. Or perhaps when I visit Stratford I can gain some inspiration from where the Bard wrote!

  • Melissa

    I hate being watched while I’m writing. I get distracted very easily when other people are around. Every single aspect of my book deserves my attention, so it’s just better if I’m by myself. When my friends and family know I’m writing, they know that it’s “my” time and to leave alone lol

  • Maimoona Rahman

    Oh, yes. I hate to write around people. I hate it even more when they ask me what I’m doing, because the answer is somewhere between 350-100’000 words. I don’t want to put them off with an incoherent synopsis. And I don’t want people to think I’m wasting my time when I could be studying Pharmacy (ugh!).

  • Rowenna

    I am very easily distracted…but I distract myself more easily than other people do. So while I do most of my writing at home (often at the dining room table….that works for me for some reason), I also escape to cafes and bookstores and places of that ilk to get work done, too. Oddly, having other people around makes me feel I need to live up to their expectation that I’m as studious and productive as I look. And as I live in a university town, every quiet public spot is crammed with laptop-toting coeds anyway, so I’m not an oddity.

    Enjoy London!

  • aloysa

    I can write whenever and wherever as long as my mind working restlessly on ideas, plots, etc. It doesn’t need to be quite around me. I can sit in a park and write, my mind somewhere far away. I don’t notice any noise or destructions. Most of people when they write like it quite. Me… I don’t really care.

    Oh, and yes, I also heard that food is not that good in London. Maybe you just need time to get used to it, though. It took me a while to get used to food here, in the US. So, it could be just a question of time. Hang in there and you might like it! 🙂

  • jannatwrites

    I usually write at my desk after everyone’s in bed because I can’t write when the kids are awake! If I’m out in public, I can write in a notebook without any trouble. I’m great at tuning everyone out and I usually don’t get interrupted. If someone does interrupt, I try to be friendly…even if I’m wishing they would not bother me.

  • Bethany

    I can only hope you find a few places in London where they let someone else cook. ‘Member that time I lived in North Wales for for nine months and came back looking like I’d been deathly ill? The kabob shop was my only friend.

  • Ollin

    Hahaha. Yes, we writers do need our privacy, don’t we? And we can be some really cranky bastards when people interrupt us, especially when we are really focused on a scene.

  • Agatha82

    Glad you’re enjoying London. Our food is great by the way ;-)It may not be “exotic” but it’s tasty in a “meat and potatoes” kind of way.

    About writing, I am lucky, I can write anywhere. On a train, bus, coffee shop, park etc whenever the moment strikes, that’s when I don’t care who’s watching me. Makes no difference to me what they’re thinking. I remember getting stares when I went to a gig not too long ago because I was walking around with a notepad, bet people thought I was a reporter but I was taking notes on the venue as I was using it for my own novel.
    I’m sure you will find the perfect place to write. Maybe Regent’s Park? Some secluded bit under a tree etc.

  • Sharmon Gazaway

    Okay, I love English spellings. Gray should so be “grey”. How exciting that you’re all the way across the Pond and getting to settle in and write! You’ll find your niche soon.
    I can’t write in public places at all. Unless it’s just note-taking. Now the people don’t know I’m only note-taking, I could be writing the Great American Novel for all they know, but I’m not so I don’t really care if they stare. However, if I’m writing my novel…yeah, just more writer neurosis.
    Maybe Southern (US) people are more nosy, or maybe I’m just more paranoid, but it does seem like they stare inquisitively, elbow each other and whisper. Maybe writing in public is less common here.
    And forget writing in the public library. There’s always some loud-mouth on a cell phone and no one to shush him. WUWT???
    Happy writing!

  • Gabby

    Didn’t we learn that writing is a solitary kind of job? There ya go! 🙂

  • slightlyignorant

    Glad you’re enjoying London! Regent’s Park is lovely – go see a play at the open air theatre (note my spelling also :P).

    You know, this is so interesting, the way everyone has a different rhythm with their writing. When I do academic writing of any sort, then I don’t mind being around people. It even helps me to have the buzz of a cafe behind me or the murmur of footsteps in the library. The background noise is soothing somehow.
    Sometimes it’s the same way with fiction, but at others it’s just not and I can’t write for lack of concentration. My favorite spots to write in basically contain books – my home (lots and lots of bookshelves), libraries, bookstores… I like writing in cafes too, inexplicably. I like watching people and writing about them, I guess – and I actually never think that anyone thinks I’m writing anything of any significance. Just the opposite, in fact. I always think that people are looking at me like I’m a freak with a tiny netbook and that I’m a poser or something ^_^”.

  • Lua

    Solitude is great but for me- it is all about silence. Now this is not usually a problem since I have my headphones on when I write but if I can hear someone talking even if I have my headphones on (since I don’t listen to music so loudly while I write) or if I hear another music ( usually happens in cafes) then there is no way that I can concentrate…
    When people are watching me? I’d rather die than write 🙂
    I’m sooooo glad you’re enjoying London and discovering all those cool places! I can’t wait to get there!

  • Suzanne

    Rosemary! So glad I can keep up with you this way! I hav yet to read your novel directly, but I plan to!

    So glad you love your roommate and are enjoying London…but what about class. What’s it like?

    Love and miss you,

    Aunt Sue

  • Smander

    London!!!! how exciting! Im just a little bit jealous though…not really. Summer is on the way here.. Ive been in London for winter. Brrr.

    So I had a chuckle when I read this post. I can write almost anywhere as long as I don’t think anyones watching. I write on the train to work and if I notice someone spying over my shoulder I give them the stink eye or turn and try to hide my note book. I dont need silence but I need to be left alone. If someone is having a really interesting conversation while Im trying to write in a cafe I end up eavesdropping and not much gets done!

  • Mandii

    I’ve found that I write the most in my room during the hours of the night when my entire family is asleep and it’s just me and my thoughts. I need the silence, I’m not a loud person and my ideas seem to mimick that. I also get very easily distracted so having other people around doesn’t help me at all.

    I hope you find a nice spot where you are, it sounds absolutely beautiful 🙂

  • Chelsea Ady


    For a VERY long time, I have laughed, nodded, and smiled at your posts; I receive your words in my inbox, as I subscribed to your blog long ago, and it brightens my day every time I see another post waiting for me!

    Yes, yes, I should have commented quite some time ago. You are a fantastic writer and I, another aspiring novelist, relate to your topics easily! However, I am a hopeless procrastinator, so it is no surprise to me that this comment took so long to initiate.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I *adore* your posts, and I appreciate that you wrote this particular gem. I, too, have my set “Designated Writing” areas around my world, and the slightest off-balance ruins the writing ambiance for me. Whenever anyone comes nearby, I shield my work as if it was a notebook full of classified military secrets. Many times – more than I would like to claim – people stared at me like I was psychotic, as I clutched my papers to my chest and slid off to find a new spot, like a fleeing criminal. Us writers – what a crazy folk. Thing is, I thought it was just me. I’m so glad you posted this, so I can tell my family to cease their intervention plans!

    Thanks again! 🙂

  • Keshav Ram Narla

    hmmm…where is this novel ideas post? I’m surprised you actual write on paper. I can’t imagine putting words across without spellcheck.

    I guess I’ll always stick to a computer.

  • Cities of the Mind

    That location sounds wicked awesome. Personally, I have a similar issue with writing in public, and I have no idea if this will work for you, but I’ve found the answer is to go somewhere as public as possible. Lose yourself in the crowd, and so on.

  • 83October

    I can never write around people. It was difficult for me in my growing years since I shared a room with my sisters. I always was trying to find some little haven at our house. Eventually, I started writing outdoors—in cafes. I find myself choosing a barely seen corner where no one can see what I’m doing.

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