In my recent visit to the Jane Austen house in Chawton (a charming village) and the Austen Museum in Bath, I learned a lot about Austen and her writing process. She disliked Bath, despite having used it as a setting in more than one novel. During her time in Bath, she moved households several times and lived with constant uncertainty about her family and financial situation. Not surprisingly she wrote little during this time. However, when she, her sister and mother established a permanent household in Chawton, she resumed writing in earnest. Undoubtedly, while she was in Bath she was thinking about the writing she had done before arriving at Bath and her time there provided fruitful material for her novels. But uncertainty blocked her writing while stability enabled it.
I can empathize, not just because my family recently moved households. Whenever there’s a disruption I find it hard to find the time and concentration to really focus on my writing. I might be thinking about my writing, but it’s hard to muster the energy to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Like Austen, I find that when things settle down again it is much easier to focus on the writing. And when I do start writing again, it is better for my peace of mind.
Good to know I share something with Jane!
Below is a table from Austen’s Chawton Cottage where she did a lot of her writing. It makes me thankful for my desk and laptop!