Does the perfect setting really lead to effortless writing?

There’s no doubt that one’s environment influences one’s writing, but what I recently discovered during my writer’s residency at Chateau Orquevaux is that the perfect physical environment is not a magic pill that will have your fingers clicking away with unbridled inspiration. As you can see from the photograph, I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting at the residency–my desk overlooked a gorgeous bucolic scene in the French countryside, replete with distant cows grazing on a neon green slope and the soothing sound of rushing waters spilling over an ancient dam. Yet I struggled with my protagonist’s inner conflicts just as I struggled with them at my desk in Virginia. In fact, once I get into the zone, it’s just me and the white page. What I find more conducive to a flowing writing session is time away from distraction, and that is what a residency allows for. That’s my goal when I return home–dedicating time away from distraction!  I’d love to hear your comments on this subject.

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