The Nomadic Writing Life: Part One
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, doing so for our writing careers wasn’t really at the top of our minds. We left because A) we were sick of the dark, the rain, and the cold B) as much as we loved the Pacific Northwest, after all of these years living there we were bored out of our skulls and C) Seattle had become so expensive, we could live in so many other places for less money without giving up anything.
The fact that we are writers was definitely an advantage in making such a big change. We can do our jobs anywhere in the world that has wireless, after all. But doing so as a way to help our writing? That wasn’t really something we thought about.
Turns out, it’s had a pretty big impact, though!
I think the biggest change is that it has completely shaken me out of the routines and ruts into which I’d fallen. In Seattle, the 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 – get up, check the news, listen to NPR for an hour, write, go to the gym, write some more, make dinner, watch some TV, then go to bed.
Wash, rinse, repeat. Yawn. Not exactly thinking, or living, outside of the box.
Here in Miami where I’m staying at Roam, a co-living facility for digital nomads, my days are pretty darned different. I still exercise, but now it’s either with a group of people in an informal class, head over to the local pool to swim under a blue Florida sky, or go for sunrise run on the beach.
Where I used to write only at my desk, I now have a half dozen different places to choose from – outside by the pool, on the porch of one of the houses, or in the co-working space where 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.
While I still follow the news of the day, I’m consuming a lot less political coverage, and that has made me a much happier man. Even better, I no longer listen to NPR, which had become a huge source of frustration. Freeing up those hours has given me a lot more time to think about my work, plus added a lot of writing time to my day.
And as a result, I’m finding my writing is flourishing. I’m starting earlier, working more efficiently, and find I’m more excited about what I’m writing.
Why such a dramatic change?
It’s hard to say for sure, but I suspect a big part of it is simply my new surroundings and routines. Here in Miami, I often write 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!