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  • Writer's picturemightynite

Writing from place

One a winters evening, with my family, at the backwaters. This is a magical place and I have been privileged to live a hundred meters from its shores for ten years. The water is rarely turbulent and most days reflects the vast Essex sky making for a wonderful medatative place.

But its not only the sight that takes your imagination, it is the smell, sounds and even touch. I took to walking the backwaters in bare feet for a time. I know the feel of the ground beneath my feet. The clay keeps its warmth well into the autumn. When the tide comes in on a summer's afternoon, it washes over the warm mud and heats the water, making for a very pleasant swim. Then there's the smell of the salt and damp sea heather.

All these things were in my imagination when I wrote of Kitty's experience of living here, on the shores of Hamford water. She must surely have known the land in a viseral way, working it with her Pa, swimming regularly in its calming waters.


A little exercise to get your writing from place going. Take a slow walk, without a notebook, in a familiar place to you. And when I say walk slowly, I mean painfully slow. Don't try to remember the sights as you walk, but let your other senses come to the fore. Maybe you could go barefoot. Simply let the place come to you. Then when you get home, sit and write from that experience. Enjoy.

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