Writing on the Move

Most writers have a favorite writing place: my study, an office, a sunny glade. But some writers take it one step further. They have a writing spot that moves.

Don Murray, the first writing coach, wrote as he drove his van. He dictated books to his wife Minnie Mae, who sat at a portable desk in the back seat.

Liu Ming, who teaches feng shui and Chinese medicine in Oakland, built an eight-foot cube on wheels in his 1,100 square-foot loft. The cube contains a bedroom, a meditation area, and his study.

He says he “added wheels for feng shui purposes. Now that it is portable, I can spin it on an axis, I can point my head and point my desk in different compass directions for different projects. If I am writing something and feel blocked, I can get up and move the room.”

He “wanted to design the work space so that it could also turn — turn it toward the light on a sunny day, or in a different mood, turn it to the wall and meet a deadline.”

He can even change the view, from downtown Oakland to “the hills and the sunrise.”

Now you might think that having a custom splendid view might distract you from writing, but remember that Petrarch climbed Mont Ventoux for inspiration, and Wordworth made a career of writing about emotions occasioned by landscape.

George Bernard Shaw anticipitated Mr. Liu when he built his revolving writing hut at Shaw’s Corner in Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England. It turned on a track to follow the path of the sun. Not a bad technique for the British Isles.


[Anybody use a moving writing spot?]

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Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for the mention of Shaw’s hut in England. I was there a few years ago and have since longed for such a spot to write. Lovely place – great view! Thanks for the memory and the information on the other types of mobile locations adopted by writers.

  2. Dear Heather,
    You’re the only person I know who has seen the hut. I drew up a plan for one at my Maine summer house, but never got around to building it. Maybe this summer.Don

  3. I’ve never had a better pen and pad than my BlackBerry. It allows me to write wherever I am and quickly get my thoughts out. Listening to a music channel on TV recently, all these old memories and emotions flooded back and, because the BlackBerry was right there, I was able to write down all those feelings. It was so satisfying that I simply exhaled, knowing I had, well, relieved myself of those things. Going to a cabin or an office on wheels may not be as good as a go-anywhere mobile device.

  4. Thanks, Matthew.
    I’m just getting up to speed writing on an IPAD. I used to jot down notes, but I find my thinking improves if I really write something rather than scribbling down the raw material. For one thing, I can remember what I meant if I write it in full.

  5. Love the idea of the movable writing hut! I think sometimes about things I’m writing while i’m on the move, but I have to stop to jot down notes.

  6. Thanks, Michael. Sometimes I jot things down on my wrist, which encourages short writing. Don


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