This week some writing friends and I went on an adventure to find a new place to write. We ended up thirty minutes away from home, in the middle of the woods, at a cafe/shack.
We lasted about two hours before we peeked up from our computers and asked each other, “Is anyone getting any work done?” We all shook our heads.
Our adventure continued, determined as we were to get work done, we stopped at a grocery store with free-wifi. The outcome was similar, and maybe a few hundred words more were written.
We were driving home, and it hit me. The physical place where you write is extremely important.
If you’re going to write a book in a month by participating in NaNoWriMo in November (which you should), you’re going to need to find a place to write before then. Let’s figure it out.
4 Overlooked Elements in the Perfect Writing Place
Here are four important, and often overlooked elements to consider when looking for the perfect place to write:
When you write, it often feels like pouring your soul onto paper. To do that, you need to be in a place you feel safe. I’m not talking the kind of safe where you won’t get robbed or beat up (although that’s also important.)
You to be feel safe enough to be yourself, to make all the weird writing faces you make, and walk around when you need to think. Find a place that you feel comfortable to write anything and everything.
Where do you feel safe to write?
2. Comfort & Discomfort
Comfort and Discomfort are both important when you write. Trying to write while sitting on a hard, cold, metal bench doesn’t work for me, but I can’t write very well on my extremely comfortable bed, either.
The perfect writing place has a balance of comfort and discomfort. You need to find the place just comfortable enough where you can relax, but not so comfortable you start to yawn.
Are you a desk, couch, park bench, or shower writer?
3. Focus & Distractions
On my latest adventure, I mentioned I ended up at a very strange cafe/shack. The waitress brought us to our table and I sat down next to a wooden rooster. The waitress told me, “Oh, aren’t you special! You get to sit next to the lucky rooster.” I smiled, shrugged my shoulders, “Heh, yeah, I guess I am.” There was no way I was getting any work done there. Not that I have anything against roosters, but the distractions in this place were innumerable.
Needless to say, when you write, you need a place to focus. Distractions need to be limited. There’s nothing worse than getting in the rhythm of writing and being interrupted by the (real) roosters in the backyard.
You need to figure out what you need to focus, and know what things distract you.
Stephen King offers us this advice:
If possible, there should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or video games for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall. For any writer, but for the beginning writer in particular, it’s wise to eliminate every possible distraction. —On Writing
What do you need to focus? Do you know what distracts you?
Maybe most importantly, you need to be in a place that inspires you. Thomas Mann did most of his writing in a tent or wicker chair on the northern beaches of Holland and Sweden, inspiration in every crashing wave.
J.K. Rowling shares her favorite writing spot:
It’s no secret that the best place to write, in my opinion, is in a café. You don’t have to make your own coffee, you don’t have to feel like you’re in solitary confinement and if you have writer’s block, you can get up and walk to the next café while giving your batteries time to recharge and brain time to think. The best writing café is crowded enough to where you blend in, but not too crowded that you have to share a table with someone else.
Inspiration comes in all forms. For some, inspiration comes in a cafe in the people that walk by. For others, inspiration is found in the blank walls and silence.
What and Where inspires you?
Where Do You Write? (Show Us and Win!)
We know that Marcel Proust had his cork-lined room, and Stephen King has his isolated cabin. But we want to know where you write!
We’re giving away ONE YEAR ACCESS to our Becoming Writer Premium Community (worth $129), just in time for NaNoWriMo.
All you have to do to enter is:
- Follow us on Instagram (thewritepractice).
- Take a picture of where you write and tag us in the photo.
- Caption the photo with the reason you think your writing spot is the perfect spot.
- Post your picture by next Wednesday, 10/21/2015, and we’ll choose and notify the winner on Friday, 10/23/2015.
First off, sign up, log-in, or open your Instagram. Find The Write Practice and follow us!
Now, take the next a few minutes to imagine your perfect writing spot. Make sure it has all the necessary elements for you to write.
Then, go find it, and once you get there, write something! You can free write or work on your work in progress. Let us know how it went in the comments section, and don’t forget to enter the contest.