Mile 13: Surround Yourself

As I started to write this particular Trail Notes, I found myself kicking around a couple of different ideas. As I often do when I’m thinking about writing, I found myself looking around my office, and I realized this week’s topic was right in front of me. In fact, it’s all around me. I’m staring at the complete Louis L’Amour leatherette collection, every volume. There are samples of my books scattered all over my desk and dozens of other Western books and movies covering the walls.

Also on my shelves and my desk are replicas of the weapons that Brock and Huck use — Huck’s 1849 Colt Pocket, Brock’s 10-inch Bowie knife and a beautiful replica of Brock’s Remington 1858.

And right in front of me sits a bottle of Old Forester bourbon, the first bottled and labeled bourbon in the world, circa 1870. To top it off, I have a few different cigar boxes.


Because all of these things help to put me in the mood to write about the Old West. When I’m doing a little mulling, which I do almost every chapter, I find myself fingering the Bowie, or maybe taking the 1858 off the wall and playing with it a little. If I’m really stuck, a glass of bourbon and a cigar by the fire pit usually shakes out an idea or two.

What I’m suggesting is that you surround yourself with things that help you get in touch with your inner Western. Books, movies, knick-knacks, replicas — whatever it is that works as a touchstone for you and brings you out of the 21st century and back into your character’s head. The closer you can get to the time and place you’re writing about, the easier it is and the better job you’ll do.

I’d love to hear what you have on your desk, or in your writing area.

I wish you good writing, and if you have a question or something you’d like to share, send me an email at [email protected].

Thank you, enjoy and keep writing!


One Comment on “Mile 13: Surround Yourself

Rick Breeden
August 28, 2018 at 8:28 am

Great insight into you’re creative process. I also have several of my favorite works from the authors that introduced me to several different genres along with my notes on local area historical timeline events. I also combine a few family bible entries and journals or diaries and letters from the ancestors that lived and in the period and location, I’m recreating.

Finally, I have been fortunate to have traveled extensively over most of both the American continents. I either look back over my travel notes and pics of the specific locations or my preferred research action of visiting the exact spots again. When I sync with the location, timeline, history, and my fictional characters with their fictional actions, the scenes flow forth like an ancient artesian spring.


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