While I’m sitting in my favorite cafe in my lovely neighborhood of Astoria, I’m thinking about the importance of place in the writing process. As much of a writing & literature enthusiast as I am, I am also a cafe enthusiast. Being able to find a place where I feel comfortable enough to stay for hours on end without feeling judged or ridiculed by the owners is important to me. Plus, I’m becoming enough of a regular here that I get the “Hey!” greeting when I come in. Sense of family in unexpected places isn’t so much important to me as it is just fun, but I enjoy it all the same.
For whatever reason, when I am in my apartment I cannot concentrate. It’s not the actual apartment either. It’s been this way in every place I’ve lived. There’s Internet and TV and free food in my apartment! How can writing compete with all that? (Note: I can’t read in my apartment either, at least not what I’m “supposed to be” reading.) That’s why seeking a comfortable place outside the home matters so much to me in my professional life.
Where do you all go to do your best work? Do you have a separate office in your apartment (that I am jealous of)? Is Starbucks your best friend? Or do you sit under a tree in a park to wait for inspiration?
Further, just how important is location to you as writers anyway?
Have a good weekend, everyone! And as you think about your favorite writing spot, I leave with you this AMAZING BLOG that I can’t believe I’ve only just discovered: The Daily Corgi (and no, I do not have a corgi, but as many of you have figured out from reading this blog, I desperately want one!)
16 thoughts on “Location, Location, Location”
Where I can see my characters.
I write obsessively for 4-8 hours at a time, formerly cramped in my mouse-infested LES apartment, hunched over the laptop with a view of a brick wall. I moved to Brooklyn, bought one of those giant HD screens and a wireless keyboard. Now I sit in my dark grotto of a room like some mind pilot flying a story ship in the utter silence of space, keyboard firing, raucous with the machine of imagination only I can hear.
I've written just about anywhere–from airplanes to my children's music lessons. But my favorite place is on my bed. It's about four feet off the ground with a seven foot headboard and white matelasse bed cover. It's lit by sunlight streaming through octagonal windows. Bliss!
I usually write at my grandmother's ancient dining room table that I inherited upon her death. My cocker spaniel, Symon, is always lying at my feet, and at least one of my five cats is curled up on the table beside one of my two laptops. One laptop is older & doesn't have wireless, but the screen is quite big, so it's great for writing; the other laptop has wireless, so I use it to Google facts.
I usually have CNN on in the livingroom (I'm in a small townhouse), with the volume muted, but I can still see what's going on in the world. (I'm a news junkie & I want to know if the world ends – LOL!)
I only get up to use the bathroom, or make another iced coffee!
Thanks for asking Sarah!
YES! I can't work in my apartment either. My new apartment has an amazing business center that has been great. There's also this awesome local pan-asian restaurant with wifi that I love to go to for writing sessions.
Back when I traveled a lot for work, I loved writing on airplanes – the white noise was great, and this was before in-flight wireless, so I had no distractions.
I'm lucky enough to write at a big old desk in the office I share with my husband. Always gotta have my fountain going, and I usually default to listening to Robin Guthrie.
On the floor in my living room. There's no better place to be when it comes to writing. I can't usually write in cafes or anything because I always feel like I should be going so that someone else can have my seat. I was different in university though. I can read anywhere, but writing, only on the floor. Can't write at the desk, I can't write in my bedroom at all. That's for sleep and, well, you know.
The best place for me to write is in my home office, and the best place for me to read is in a comfy chair at home. I wish I could write with people around, but I get distracted by conversation.
Within the past few months, I've found I need to get out of the house to write (or to at least start writing that day). I've been frequenting a place called Cafe Caturra here in Richmond. I get a LOT of writing done there. This past week, I've punched out nearly 10-thousand words (my kids being out-of-town and having taken the week off from work helped with that, too). Only downside is that I end up spending quite a bit of money going to a cafe.
I had a day or two where going to the cafe was what it took to get me started, and once I got home, I had enough of a groove going to keep writing even at home.
I do too many things at home that don't involve writing, so it's near impossible to get started there.
Met thriller writer Kyle Mills a few years ago. He writes in his house, but he said he has to go out and get a bagel or something to simulate a “commute to work.” Pretty wild.
I do a lot of work at my kitchen table, too! You can't beat it for easy access to coffee, snacks, and candy. I'm also spending a lot of time out on my back patio when it cools down in the evening. The only con is all the bugs.
I wish I could sit at a cafe and write, but I'm not sure I could concentrate. People watching is one of my favorite things to do and I'm afraid I wouldn't get much writing done if there were ongoing conversations on which to “accidentally” eavesdrop.
These days I mostly work at the kitchen table, where I can view a slice of sky and treetops above power lines. I need something halfway scenic to stare at when I'm thinking.
My favorite spot to write is the student union on the campus where I work. I find all kinds of wonderful distractions/inspirations there like interesting people and snippets of overheard conversation.
Overall, I can and do write almost anywhere. The only exception is the couch–where my brain shuts off.
My brain is well trained in the art of day-dreaming which means I can tune out the world in an instant. It also means I can write anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Same when I read.
I cannot write/work at home either.
I usually write in Panera Bread. Sometimes Starbucks, but people come in and out of that place too quickly, and it's more distracting.
I first-draft on my couch, revise at my desk. Both locations come complete with interrupting children and bonus barfing dog. But wait! If I sit down to write now, I get not one but TWO visiting in-laws. While supplies last…. 😉
Well, for me (someone who you don't know but is being all intrusive on your blog ;P)it's a matter of time over place. I spent the better part of ten years getting my BA & MA while having babies. (The reason it took so dang long). I got into the habit of not writing papers or studying until after my girls went to sleep. So, I became a night owl…staying up until all hours getting my work done.
Luckily, my girls and my hubby know how important writing is to me. They give me my space, which happens to be a tiny, well-used desk in my room. Home renovations will, hopefully, provide that much coveted office space.
The point is, place is less important to me because I doodle, jot down ideas, randomly write wherever I can. I agree that atmosphere is very helpful, but sometimes you just have to get things down and out of your head.
I need absolute silence to the point of wearing ear plugs and I generally write at 3am when all is silent. I have a small office at home with a comfortable chair and small desk lamp. I envy authors who write and listen to music simultaneously.