Two years ago I made a huge change in my life: I left my hometown (the only city I’d ever lived in) and moved clear across the country to a small town that I’d never even visited before.
I haven’t regretted the move at all. Even so, after two full years now, I’m still finding myself periodically marveling at the differences between the big city east coast life I grew up with, and the small-town north-west life I live now.
It’s great fodder for stories, for sure. Even though my current WIP does not take place in a small rural town, I’m filing away my observations for potential future writing use. And now, I’m sharing these little observations with you! So if you’ve never lived in a small rural town, then feel free to take some of these tidbits and use them to inspire your own writing!
A Town of “The”
My town is small enough that it’s a town where many things are “the.” As in, “the post office,” “the Chinese restaurant,” and “the gas station.” It used to be a town of “the traffic light,” but then the light was removed. There is only one other traffic light in the entire county, just past the north edge of town; so my town is officially now a no-light town. Continue reading
This past weekend I treated myself to a mini writer’s retreat. I rented a little cabin through Airbnb (free plug here for the Airbnb site and this cabin in particular). While there’s nothing particularly stressful about my home life, I just wanted to get away for a couple of days, and give myself an excuse to not get distracted by the hundreds of little things that can pop up when you’re sitting at home trying to write.
This little cottage was perfect: cozy and rustic but still had all the amenities (air conditioning and wi-fi being the most important), easy to find but not in the middle of town. Being surrounded by nature is relaxing and inspiring for me. It was refreshing to wake up to a rooster crowing, and take an afternoon stroll down the road and be greeted by a horse at his pasture fence. Even though nothing I’m writing on right now features farmlands or roosters, this sort of environment pus my mind and spirit at ease and therefore lets the creativity rise to the surface.
Here are a few take-aways from my writing weekend:
- Two nights is not long enough. Next time I decide to take a writer’s retreat (whether by myself, or with a group), it needs to be longer.
- I didn’t feel guilty about being anti-social. Actually, I spent several hours chatting with my wonderful host (who is also a writer) and had a lovely time. A writer needs to be a keen observer of people, which is hard to do if you’re a hermit. But for just a couple of days it was nice to not put on makeup and not leave the house except to sit in the garden and write.
- I really need to live in the country, preferably near the mountains. While I don’t want to live so remote that it takes an hour to get to the nearest grocery story, it’s nice to drive down a two-lane road and not see a traffic light—or a traffic jam—for a few miles.
So now I’m back to my regular life, driving through the bustling city and wearing makeup and looking presentable. But I came away from this weekend feeling refreshed, inspired, and with several writing tasks checked off my to-do list. The trip was well worth it and I hope to do it again soon!
My view of the garden when I sat outside to write