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A Room With A View

July 1st, 2011

There are two kinds of writers – IBVs and DBVs. IBVs are those who are Inspired By Views, whereas as DBVs are writers who are Distracted By Views. I’m an IBV and for me the most inspiring views are to be found in the UK’s Lake District. Because of this, I try to visit the area several times a year and in 2009, I even spent five weeks living there, working on my novel.

I think good views can influence a writer. Many have found the Lake District creatively inspiring, including Wordsworth (both William and Dorothy), Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome, Samuel Coleridge, Thomas de Quincy, John Ruskin, Melvyn Bragg, Alfred Wainwright and even the creator of the children’s television series, Postman Pat.

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But what is it about a view that inspires a writer? Could it be that it instils a sense of calm? A good view helps me to de-clutter life’s junk from my brain. And then, as I sit and stare, I love the way the weather constantly changes the scene. This means that a view evolves. Mother Nature seems to say, “This idea is best! No, what about this one? Or this? How does this one look?” It’s as though she is editing her first draft, written the moment the sun rose first thing in the morning.

If you haven’t tried it before, find a good view and give yourself two minutes to sit and stare at it. Jot down any thoughts in your notebook. Where do they take you? Experiment with views too. Which work better for you: A tranquil, rural scene, or a coastal view with the tide coming in? I’ve posted two of my favourite views that I’ve photographed whilst in the Lake District here. But, perhaps you don’t need peace and quiet? Your most productive view could be of a seaside promenade packed with pubs, cafes, nightclubs and pulsating music. But unless you take time to sit down and gaze, you’ll never know! So, which are you? An IBV or a DBV?

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Simon Whaley is a tutor for the Writers Bureau, a freelance writer, author and photographer. He’s the bestselling author of 100 Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human, and eight other non-fiction books, and his articles have appeared in publications like BBC Countryfile, Heritage, The Lady, InBritain, Dogs Monthly, Holiday Villas and Cottages, Cumbria and Lakeland Walker. Simon will be running the ‘Seven Steps to Publication Success’ at The Hayes Conference Centre, near Swanwick, Derbyshire, 13th to 15th April 2012. For more information visit: http://www.simonwhaley.co.uk/tutoringtalks/relax-and-write-courses/ His tenth book, The Positively Productive Writer will be published by O Books later in 2011.

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