Matt Knight doesn’t fit any cookie-cutter idea of a writer. He’s a lawyer (not unusual among fiction writers), who uses his law knowledge to provide advice to writers via his book, The Writer’s Legal GPS: A guide for navigating the legal landscape of publishing He’s also written this lovely article for the New York Times: On a Nude Beach With My Parents, Baring Almost All. Plus, he writes speculative and women’s fiction. And then find out where he does his writing. Try not to be too jealous… Oh – and read the last line below if you want to feel that maybe his location has some drawbacks after all. Including sharks and ten-mile swims.
Some writers are known for idiosyncratic writing spots and behaviors. I am not one. I don’t write in a bathtub with the company of a parrot, or in a parked car inspired by the horns and grinding gears of traffic. If there is anything peculiar about where and how I write, it is this. I need consistency, a clean workspace, and to write in a place that boosts creativity, which is why I gravitate to Maui.
When I’m on island, my body hits the reset button and I feel uninhibited. My desk is one of two places, the dining room table or a table outdoors on the lanai. Our home is small but the ocean view is big, overlooking three islands – Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Molokai – and a crescent-shaped volcanic crater, Molokini.
My day starts early (5 am) with a meditation and then exercise, usually an ocean swim or surfing. The water provides time to mull over a plot or develop characters. It sets the tone and creative flow for the day. If I avoid emails and social media when I return, I easily slide into writing and inhabit my fictional worlds. If I can’t exercise first, I’m less focused. I don’t feel centered. My productivity goes down. So, I guess maybe I do write in a bathtub, the ocean.
But I don’t have a parrot. Instead, I am joined by loquacious mynahs, zebra doves, and egrets. Evenings I tend to take off. I’ll cook, read, watch a movie, or visit with friends. I can often be found playing ping-pong with my friend Dorothy, a 94-year-old legend on the island who I’m embarrassed to say kicks my tush. There are times when I get a second wind and write into the night. Then my companions become the geckos and wine to counteract all the caffeine from the day.
I’m currently working on two projects – a final draft of a near-future thriller, The Gene Pool (book one of The Residuum Trilogy), and an essay about an encounter with a shark during a ten-mile swim across the ‘Au’Au Channel from Lanai to Maui.