Santa Fe

Writing inspiration

Where do you do your best writing? In your home office? Surrounded by books at the library or your favorite book store? In a local café?

Ever since I filled a travel journal with tales of adventure while traipsing across Europe as a wide-eyed 22-year old, I’ve done my best writing on the road.

I wrote a business plan in the Green Mountains of Vermont that turned into a $20,000 summer (back in 1989.)

I wrote the content for my website in Lagos, Nigeria, which launched my freelance writing business in 2009.

I wrote a video script that doubled response for a copywriting client while looking out my office window at the majestic Andes Mountains in Quito, Ecuador.

Why it works

What does this have to do with you?

Well, I’d like to show you what I’ve learned in my writing journey that’s taken me to all 50 states, 28 countries, and five continents so far.

I don’t know why, but I’ve found that we often do our best writing when we …

  • Get out of our normal environment
  • Focus intensely on the task at hand
  • Surround ourselves with other interesting people
  • Eliminate tedious daily distractions
  • Travel to a place with a funky, creative vibe

Do you have to travel for weeks or months at a time, or cross the ocean, to get the inspirational writing effect?


In my experience, all it takes is three or four days set apart from your normal routine. I’ve done it at my brother’s cabin in northern Wisconsin, and just last week in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Santa Fe effect

In fact, immersed in this amazing city of hundreds of art galleries, inspiration hit me big-time. I framed out the entire outline to my soon-to-be-published book, and cranked out a number of pages on the way home while my head was still spinning with new ideas.

Let me ask you. If you had nothing else to think about for three entire days … if you immersed yourself in a creative, inspiring environment … if you grabbed your back-burner book project idea and put it front and center … if you got a detailed blueprint of exactly how to take your book idea from pipe dream to fruition … would you be open to it?

Here’s a starting point:

  1. Get off by yourself for 90 minutes. Just take a blank new notebook and a pen. Nothing else.
  2. Think of the one topic you’ve always wanted to write a non-fiction book about. Put aside for a moment your feelings of inadequacy and just brainstorm.
  3. Write down 20 possible book titles.
  4. Now get rid of seven that aren’t that good.
  5. Of the remaining 13, pick the one you like best. That’s your title.
  6. Second best? Sub-title.
  7. The eleven that are left are your chapter titles.

Simplistic? Yes, but it’s just a starting point.

Stay tuned for more details on this “Santa Fe effect” and how it can be applied to write a book in 40 days, whether you’re at home or you consider joining me and ten other writers in Chicago, Illinois, June 19-22 at the Ultimate Writing Retreat™.

So … is this your year to check off “write a book” on your life list? Leave me a quick note below and tell me about it.






Steve Roller

Author Steve Roller

I'm a business coach, author, copywriter, world traveler (33 countries on five continents so far), and professional speaker. In addition to helping companies get more customers and make more money, I help other writers create profitable businesses. I offer one-on-one coaching, professional copy critiques, and live, in-person business-building workshops. When I'm not writing, coaching, or speaking, I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my wife and four kids and planning my next adventure.

More posts by Steve Roller

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Karen says:

    Hey Steve, I find that by just heading to the local beach inspires me to work. I am fortunate that I belong to the “Beach Club” where I get chairs and umbrella set up for me and a small table. After about 15 minutes of just relaxing and watching the ocean, I write for hours. If i get hot, I jump in the water. It is the best office on earth!

    • Steve Roller says:

      I love it, Karen! If I was near a beach I’d spring for a Beach Club membership as well. Well worth the investment. Best wishes in your writing.

Leave a Reply