That night, I could barely contain my excitement when we visited the birthplace of some of my favorite books ever written. My friends rolled their eyes as I kept repeating to them, “J.K. Rowling was here!” or “This is where it all started!” or “Can’t you picture her writing over in that corner?” I took dozens of pictures and videos to document it.
We ordered our food. (I got a ham and cheese croissant with hot chocolate—10/10, would recommend.) We sat down. I even pulled out my iPad to write a few sentences of my novel to feel the magic of the atmosphere. But I discovered something unusual.
I couldn’t feel the magic as I wrote. It seemed stiff and forced. I didn’t feel like I was writing in the presence of J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. I felt like I was writing in a coffee shop.
And that’s when I realized it. I was doing just that: writing in a coffee shop. A regular old coffee shop. There was nothing special about this particular one. Sure, it was cute. It had good food. But it wasn’t a spectacular place to write.
I was a bit disappointed at first. I wanted to feel that same inspiration felt by the great author who preceded my visit. But then I was oddly comforted. Because it wasn’t the coffee house that made the story come alive. There isn’t a special, magical place where the words will magically flow. The writing came from the author, not the place. Sure, The Elephant House may not have worked for me. But the Starbucks down the road or the Panera downtown? Those can be my Elephant House. And my writing will be just as good.
Now, it is a bit of a disappointment that there isn’t a magic formula. Sure, it’s nice to know that I don’t have to pay for another flight to Scotland to get inspiration. But it means that the talent I crave is within one of the greatest authors of our age. I may never find that sheer volume of talent within myself. But I can strive for it. I can always write. What’s the worst that can happen? A rejection letter? Please. Harry Potter was rejected twelve times. A rejection letter doesn’t mean anything but a motivation to keep working harder.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Megan Alms is a professional writer from Indianapolis. She publishes articles, short stories, poems, reviews, devotions, and scripts, and wants to help other writers find success in the publishing industry.