The Nomadic Writing Life, Part 1

After four, weeks, how has the nomadic writing life turned out? Pretty awesome!

When Brent and I decided to pack up everything and leave Seattle to travel the world, it wasn't primarily about our writing careers. We were mostly eager to see the world, and tired of the Seattle rain (and cost of living!).

The fact that we are writers definitely made our traveling possible. We can do our jobs anywhere in the world that has wireless, after all. But traveling to improve our writing, and our productivity? That wasn’t really something we considered.

Turns out it has!

I used to consume a lot of political news. For example, I'd listen to NPR every morning, but in the age of Trump, it had become a source of huge frustration. I find their coverage to be incredibly timid, because of their insistence that "both sides" are always equally to blame for any issue or problem; they're obviously terrified that conservatives will accuse them of "bias." But their complete unwillingness to call out stupid political spin and blatant lies always had me screaming at the radio.

I don't listen anymore. And freeing up the time I used to spend quivering with rage has given me a lot more time to, well, write.

I had other bad habits as well. In Seattle, my days had developed a sameness that, looking back, I can see were a little stultifying, both personally and creatively. I pretty much knew every day exactly who I would see –- mostly just Brent –- and what I would do. I'd get up, check the news, go to the gym, write some more, make dinner, watch some TV, then go to bed.

Wash, rinse, repeat. Yawn

Here in Miami where I’m staying at Roam, a co-living facility for digital nomads, my days are completely different. I still exercise, but now it’s usually with a group of people in the morning fitness class. Or since it's always beautiful here, I'll head over to the local pool and swim under a blue Florida sky, or on zip over for a sunrise run on the beach.

While I used to write only at my desk, I now have a half dozen different places to choose from: poolside, or on one of the many porches or decks around the facility, or maybe even in the co-working space. I’m currently writing this alongside a New York filmmaker, a Dutch graphic designer, a French writer, and a German day-trader.

As Anne Shirley, one of my favorite literary heroines would say, I have so much more scope for my imagination now.

And as a result of all this, my work is flourishing. I’m starting earlier, working more efficiently, and much more excited about what I’m writing.

The community aspect helps too. I have plenty of privacy, but I'm also often writing alongside other folks doing a myriad of different jobs. Doing so reminds me of doing laps in the pool. When I’m swimming by myself, I don’t push myself as hard. When someone swims in the lane next to me, I find that I push myself harder!

So while I didn’t leave Seattle to improve my writing, it turns out that’s exactly what’s happened!

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Photo credit: @ajstetson