Why writing in hotels can be way better than writing at home: A Proposition

I’ll start off this post by acknowledging the fact that I am actually writing it from my own couch at my own house, with my furry, cross-eyed kitten curled up next to me. However, in the spirit of the title, I came up with the idea in a hotel. Let me paint you a picture:

Last night I was curled up in cute little room out in frigid West Virginia trying to fall asleep  when the awesome notion of how good it was to write in hotels popped into my mind, forcing me to turn on the light and jot it down. (As these thoughts usually do…)

What is it about hotels that make them perfect for cruising through 1,000-2,000 words at a time? Just the night before I had written three single-spaced pages of a scene that I have no place for. For now it’s just sitting in my aptly named “Writing” folder on my computer. But that’s beside the point. Normally at night I come back to my house, feed Otto (the cat, not my SO) and then sit down to do work. Invariably I get distracted and read or watch TV, and catch up with my SO when he gets home. The computer is right there, staring me in the face, but I rarely find the effort to pull up a WIP, or even a blank page.

Hotels are anonymous, just rooms that people move in and out of every day not caring that their towel is on the floor or that they drank everything in the mini bar. Last night I attempted to sleep on a bed that arched in the middle and dipped down into two distinct body cubbies. It was weird. And really, when you’re cooped up in a room that has three channels on TV and slow internet connection, why not write?

Sometimes it’s the rooms themselves that spur my creativity. Last summer I attended a concert near Baltimore, and booked a cheap room for me and a friend last minute without much research. Problem was, when she and I pulled up, we discovered it was a truck stop— as in the front door of the motel was a convenience store. This place was disgusting. As my friend and I exited the elevator, we couldn’t help but look for stray prostitutes lounging near the ice machine… if there even was an ice machine. A layer of grime coated everything in the room, from the carpet that hadn’t been vacuumed in a year, to the bathroom that any sane person would avoid, to the blocks of cement they called beds. We ended up putting our extra clothes over the pillows and slept on top of the sheets. It was awful. But it was also wonderful.

Even before I had settled my head onto my sweater to fall asleep, I was picturing the story—maybe something about a teen girl with fiery red hair down to her waist making her way across the country. Who knows? I haven’t used that night and that room for much yet, but the image is catalogued and ready to go. Hotels are weird and motels are worse, but they are truly wonderful for sparking me to write.

Let me hear from you! Has anyone had a similar experience or a creepy room that inspired you? (Hopefully not up to 1408 levels though…)

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