I live in the low latitudes, tucked right north of the equator, still a long way and many degrees separation from the Tropic of Cancer. That means one crucial thing – in December – March, I still do my writing outdoors. At the beach. At a cafe by the pier. In a little open-air food court. I do my writing in the view of people, observing what they do, sometimes being distracted, other times able to completely ignore them.

I do my writing in shorts. If I’m on a beach chair by the pool, perhaps without a shirt. I often write with my swimming trunks on. Many times they are wet.

I write with an ice-cold beverage in front of me.

I sometimes wear sunscreen.

I always write with sunglasses on.

I write feeling the slight breeze, looking at the palm trees gently swaying, observing the cruise ships sailing towards Thailand.

I write in the tropics.

My question is this: how in the world to writers in the mid-latitudes write? The northern mid-latitudes stretches from the Tropic of Cancer to 66.5 degrees north. I’m fairly certain that in January, a writer in Iowa, Canada, or Cologne are not sitting shirtless in their swim suits, writing on a lap top with an ice cold beverage, feeling the refreshing breeze.

Those mid-latitude writers must be a completely different creature. They must be a strange breed which I should probably learn about because I might be one someday.

How am I going to do this? I don’t like hot drinks. I hate wearing pants and long sleeves. I love to sit outside and observe people. I hate writing in a closed room, staring at the blank walls.

Cold weather writing scares me. What if I never have another good idea? What if my brain freezes with the weather? What if my skin becomes pasty white? What if the mid-latitudes destroys my creativity?

If all goes according to plans, I at least have two more years in the tropics. I better write my epic soon.


  1. Being in a place that right now is fluctuation in temperature so badly we don’t know what to make of it, I can tell you, I, too, hate wearing pants and long sleeves.
    I write at a coffee shop. Thankfully it is a pretty open one, inside or out. I also set up my own home office at home, decorated the walls as I pleased and have a lock and ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door.
    If forced, you have to adapt and make a space YOURS. Claim it, personalize it, make it a productive environment for you and you alone.
    Mine looks like a cross between a voodoo shop and sword shop with smatterings of zombie toys here and there. People either want to come in and stare in awe at my weird space, or avoid it…lol.
    I hope you can claim a space, making it your own. Nothing is more painful than not having a place to get your creativity flowing.
    All my best to you!!

  2. What a great read. We moved back to Florida after 17 years in Montana. Even here it is chilly in the winter. I write in my creative room with music playing and candles and incense. Quite lovely actually. You will be able to write anywhere, don’t worry. It just pours out of you. 🙂

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