The answer to this question is far more important than you might realize at first glance. Where you write, in many ways, will influence how and what you write. Allow me to illustrate my point. For a moment, suppose I had a friend who was an author and he lived next door. One day he came over to my house and knocked on my door. Now let’s say he told me that he had committed to complete a chapter of the new book he was writing by the end of the week. Unfortunately, his wife’s family happened to be in town for a family reunion and his house was overrun with people. So he asked me if I’d give him a place where he could write for the next few hours. I agreed and proceeded to lead him downstairs into the basement. Once downstairs, I asked him to follow me into a small 8 x 8 room without windows and I sat him down on a hard chair under a set of harsh florescent lights. Then I said to him, “take as long as you like” … and shut the door.
Okay, what are you thinking and feeling right now? If you’re a bit claustrophobic, you’re probably already starting to panic. Even if you’re not claustrophobic, you can see this environment might not be very conducive to creative writing for most people.
On the other hand, consider in the same scenario that I took him through the house to the back deck and offered him in a nice padded chair with a table in front of it. The desk overlooked a beautiful flower garden that was surrounded by a variety of fruit trees and number of birds singing their favorite songs. It was pleasant day early in the summer season. Where do you think he’d do a better job of writing, in the basement or on the deck? Unless you’re a hermit or the rare exception, your answer would probably be … the deck. Yet, if the truth were told some writers would actually prefer the basement. As the saying goes, “to each his own.”
Now close your eyes for a minute. Come on, play along … and no peeking! With your eyes closed I’d like you to envision the perfect writing environment for “you.” Is it indoors or outdoors? What’s the chair like that you’re sitting in? What does the lighting look like? Try to include everything possible that would make the setting perfect for you. Okay, open your eyes again. The chances are this imaginary place could never be perfectly reduplicated. However, your goal is to find a place with as much of what you envisioned as possible and that’s where you should write.
In my case, believe it or not, I wrote most of Escape through the Wilderness at three different Starbucks locations. I enjoy having coffee close by and people around. It’s a nice, open, active and fun atmosphere for me to write. Some writers need their writing place to be totally quiet with no distraction. Not me! Writing at Starbucks would probably drive them crazy. So they’ll find a quiet place that works for them. And you need to find a perfect place that works for you.
1. What type of writing environment would bring out the best in me?
2. Is there a place like that close by? If not, is there a nearby location that could serve as
Next time we’ll focus on safeguarding your writing time. Until then ponder and answer the above questions.