READER FRIDAY – Five Most Inspirational Places for Authors to Write

Purchased from iStock by Jordan Dane

Purchased from iStock by Jordan Dane

An author can write anywhere with the help of a tablet or laptop or even a low-tech pad of paper and pen. But there are some places that can be more inspirational if you’ve hit a dry spell.

In no particular order, here are my five favorite places to write:

1.) Graveyard at Dusk – People watching would be interesting AFTER dusk but reading headstones or taking in the quiet at a cemetery during the dying light of the day can stir the storyteller in anyone.

2.) Hotel Lobby Bar – If you’re ever at a writers’ conference, the place to be is the hotel bar. Everyone turns up there, but there are stories in the many travelers’ faces, not to mention the fun of eavesdropping on dialogue inspirations.

3.) Coffee House – The faces and the dialogue might be different in a coffee house, but the caffeine keeps the creative juices flowing.

4.) Scenic Forest – Getting closer to nature can stir the imagination and get the blood moving. Try it.

5.) Swamp – I have to admit that I’ve never done this, but I really want to. The sounds and the potential for danger in a swamp could be titillating. Let the vastness swallow you whole.

What are YOUR five favorite inspirational places to write? When your creative juices run low, where do you go or what do you do?

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She is the author of young-adult novels written for Harlequin Teen, the Sweet Justice thriller series for HarperCollins., and the Ryker Townsend FBI psychic profiler series, Mercer's War vigilante novellas, and the upcoming Trinity LeDoux bounty hunter novels set in New Orleans. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. To keep up with new releases & exclusive giveaways, click HERE

47 thoughts on “READER FRIDAY – Five Most Inspirational Places for Authors to Write

  1. 1) At my desk (I did create a little hub for me in our home office and call it all the time: My office. 😉 )
    2) In our garden
    3) At our dinner table
    4) In a bus (this is very frequent actually); or a bus stop (A man saw me writing recently at a bus stop and asked me what I was writing. I said, “A book.” “A book?” his face was full of shock and confusion. Then he looked at me like at an alien. I liked that so much, that I didn’t know what to say either. So, I started to write more often in busses and at bus stops. 😀 )
    5) On a beach, while my husband and children are playing in the water or sand.

    • Great list, Victoria. Your bus story cracked me up. I had something similar happen when a physicians assistant asked me what I did while I recouped from surgery (my 6 week leave off work). I told her I finished a book. She thought I meant “I read a book.” When she found out I wrote one, she freaked out. She’d always wanted to write & never knew an author.

      That book I wrote became my debut book and sold in auction. But I’d rather ride a bus than have another surgery.

    • “Then he looked at me like at an alien.”

      ROTFL! Good thing I wasn’t drinking water when I read that. I can just picture it! 😎

        • Jordan, BK, your comments made me laugh to tears! 😀
          Thank you, Jordan, for sharing the story of your first book! Yes, bus rides are much better than hospitals. But you couldn’t have used your recovery better than creating something special. 🙂
          And thank you for the question today! I forgot all about the bus-stop story, even if happened a couple of weeks or at most a month ago. It came back to me as I compiled the list, answering your question, as I wrote about writing on a bus.
          Actually, I wrote my very first short story during two bus rides: one to and one from the fertility clinic. It was about a mother who wanted to have children but couldn’t and a taxi driver who had a son but lost him.
          A few months after an unlucky procedure at the fertility clinic my husband and I found out that we would become parents. The “normal” way. 😉
          Now I realise how special busses are in my writing life. 🙂

    • If it took place in LA, it was because you weren’t writing a screenplay, like the other 99.99 per cent of the local population. ?

      • LOL!
        No, Kathryn, it was in Aalborg, Northern Denmark. 🙂
        There are more and more writers over here too, but we still seem to be a minority. 😉
        However Aalborg is an extremely creative and artistic city. There’s been a study saying that it is currently the happiest city in Europe. 🙂

  2. Waiting for the BC Ferry to arrive; coffee shops, at the beach with the sound of the waves, early in the morning almost anywhere (i.e., 5 a.m.), relaxing in my bed with the pillows propped up, and, of course, at my desk in my home office.

    Can’t remember the name of the romance novelist who wrote her first book sitting on the can during lunch breaks. I’ll never forget the location, however, and the fact that she wrote her novel just at noon hour.

  3. I love my home office so that’s where I write.

    It’s not inspiring, but sometimes I snatch a few words at the work cafeteria.

    Or sometimes at the college library for a few minutes between classes.

    Have done the occasional cafe writing thing, though I don’t find that as beneficial as some do. I mostly find it distracting, as I like to work in peace & quiet.

    It hasn’t happened in a long time but if I’ve gone on a trip I usually spend some quiet time in my hotel room writing.

    • I like my down time & quiet too but I can tune out library noise (another good place). At a coffee shop, I’d be too tempted to grab a pastry or three.

  4. Using Scrivener’s compose mode, I can write anywhere in the world: at the beach, inside Langer’s Deli in Los Angeles, on top of a mountain. Then I add background sounds – coffeehouse ( or a train or wind or whatever ( All I need is smell technology next. Is there an app for that?

  5. Love how you think, Jordan. Girl after my own heart. I’ve been searching for swamps lately, believe it or not. Perfect place to dump a body. I mean, to get the creative juices flowing. So, that’s my number one.
    2. I love to walk the country backroads around here (northern NH). Nothing clears the mind like nature.
    3. The woods are another favorite of mine.
    4. We don’t have coffee houses around here, but I am looking forward to the conference bar at the Writers Police Academy in August.
    5. My favorite place to eavesdrop is Walmart. Characters of all different shapes and sizes line the isles, and their conversations make great fodder for stories. I even have my husband spying now, too, which makes shopping so much more fun.

    • Sue – we’ll have to hook up at WPA. And the only “mall” up here is Walmart, and I totally agree that their population makes for great character fodder.
      Hubster always warns people we meet to be careful what they say or they’ll end up in my next book.

    • Ha! Try a laundromat. Hilarious people come in there at all hours. The single guys who bring in HUGE bags of clothes and are wearing their last clean garment, usually something polyester from the 90s.

      You and I think alike, Sue. I have a dead squirrel decaying somewhere near my sunroom and it reeks, but its good research. Ha! Sick.

  6. I fell off a log once trying to cross to a dry place in a swamp. And my husband had a brand new pickup and muttered something about me riding in the back–in case anyone wonders why I write murder stories. But I digress. Places I love to write:
    1. My deck, listening to the birds sing.
    2. My office, where I’m most productive.
    3. In a cabin in the woods.
    4. I don’t have a 4 and 5. 🙂

  7. We used to go to a tiny city on summer weekends: Eastport, Maine. It’s the Eastern-most city in the U.S. & in mid-June the sun rises around 4:40 AM. I made it a point to get up before then, sit on a bench by the water, and write as the sun rose.

    My second favorite inspiring spot is on AMTRAK trains from Boston to Virginia, especially pulling into and out of Quantico, VA, because it looks and feels like a movie still from the 1950s.

    • How did you see to write on the beach at that hour? I can see you with a miner’s light strapped to your head. Don’t correct me.

      • Haha. No beach, just a harbor with a small park looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. During peak summer daylight hours, it gets light enough to see around 4:30, so I waited until then. I like the idea of a miner’s light strapped to my head, though–I never thought of that, good suggestion.

        • My mom has a pair of black framed glasses with lights off each stem. She uses them in dark restaurants to read menus & look like an oncoming train. I told her they used to belong to a gynecologist. That still didn’t deter her.

  8. Actual writing — almost always in my home office. I like the comfort and routine of a familiar setting. I’m too easily distracted when I’m out amongst people, but there’s story fodder everywhere.
    I live in the mountains, in a rural setting. “Walkies” with the dog frees my mind.
    Then there are restaurants, coffee shops, etc. (Just check to make sure you’re not sitting near a table of cops when you discuss plot ideas for your next book.)
    I’m going on a cruise next January and hope to find another book there. I was recently at a cattle ranch doing research for my cowboy series.

  9. At the risk of being the object of Joe Moore’s ridicule….:)
    The best memory I have of a writing place is sitting on the terrace of the Cafe Delmas in Paris in a November drizzle with a hot cappuccino and nice warm heater over my head. I had a bad cold that day but still wrote two chapters.

    But in more prosaic times, I have taken to hanging out in the tiny bar of the Riverside Hotel here in Fort Lauderdale. No wifi, not too many people, and Debra the bartender who knows to put one glass of Sancerre at my elbow when she sees me walk in and only one glass. I might have to dedicate the next book to her.

    The no wifi is very important.

  10. We added a two-tiered koi pond with waterfalls to our backyard, with the goal of creating an inspiring environment. Since then I have added: 1) a school of exotic fish in a rainbow of vibrant hues; 2) a grumpy oversized catfish to introduce a note of tension; 3) a trio of reflective spheres/garden elements; 4) a grassy knoll (that one was the landscape architect’s idea, the idea seemed like a nonstarter from the get-go; 5) a market umbrella and vintage Italian wrought iron patio furniture; 6) two enormous bronze herons (to scare off any real herons from being tempted to dine on the fish).

    The result of all this effort is a pleasant-looking backyard (except for the grassy knoll, which looks uncomfortably like a burial mound); the yard has inspired visits from butterflies, dragonflies, bees, and birds–but nada one word written by me. I do hang out there quite a bit communing with the fish et al. That allure has its downside, too–fish was the last animal protein I allowed myself to eat. By bonding with the koi, I’m putting myself at risk of a future diet restricted to legumes and tofu. I’m Not quite there yet, but getting close. ?

    Unfortunately, the only thing that actually inspires me is a deadline, which is nonspecific to place. This means I always wind up writing at two a.m. at the kitchen dinette.

    • I bonded with my Koi in OK. Gave them all names but I couldn’t stop my craving for sushi. Sorry.

      I love the grumpy catfish for tension. Ha!

      Your oasis sounds beautiful.

  11. Another vote for the home office. I can’t deal with the noise of a public place. Even music is too distracting for me to work by. Listening to bird songs to identify the species and looking out the window to see other birds and passing vehicles is enough distraction as it is. Plus the internet.

    JD – Empathize with the dead squirrel problem. Last summer I had to fish a dead rabbit out of my (former) koi pond. I just left on the ground by the pond. Within 24 hours all that was left were its little hind leg bones. I’d say it made a tasty raccoon meal.

  12. I still like my very own little office best of all. The library is my second choice, but only on days when there are no kidlet activities — watching the tiny tots being read to is just too much fun.

  13. I tried to respond to this earlier, but my internet decided to go down in the middle of my comment. My usual place is in my bedroom. I have a card table set up for a desk and when my office chair broke, I ended up sitting in my wheelchair that I used while recovering from a medical condition. I really need a better chair! My favorite place, when it isn’t too hot, is the park. The problem is, I end up talking to other people and don’t get much done. The library is a good spot too. I usually need total silence too. I’ve tried working in a coffee shop, and I can’t concentrate. Even with reading, I hate distraction. Those are about the only places I’ve tried so far. I love reading all the other places from everyone! Have a happy weekend, everyone! Happy Father’s Day to all dads–you are awesome! 🙂

  14. I write best in my home office, which has a view of the Intracoastal Waterway and I can see into the fancy condos across the water. One condo held black tie parties at midnight. That became the inspiration for a short story called “Vampire Hours.”

  15. My best place: my downstairs “hole,” my oasis-office where there is only peace and quiet and I can disappear.
    also, the lake behind the Florida condo,
    My deck with a glass of wine and sunshine
    the downstairs patio when no one is around.
    I can’t have noise.
    However, that said, my observation areas are busy, noisy, and I pick up on all kinds of ideas this way. I love people watching.

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