Greetings, writers! As of last night at midnight PST, the time to submit your story for contest workshopping ended. Now it’s time to critique! Make sure you head into the Spring Contest workshop and look for stories that haven’t yet gotten a response.
(P. S. Don’t post your contest submission in the regular Writing workshop. I’m afraid if you do, we’ll have to delete it!)

How to Find Your Writing Workspace

Writing Workspace

Photo by Striatic

J.K. Rowling wrote in coffee shops. E.B. White wrote in his living room. Philip Pullman often wrote in a museum café. All writers have a place that’s theirs to write in, a place that they’ve claimed as their own, even if it’s a public place. Have you found your workspace yet?

If not, read on and follow these three simple tips.

1. Match your style

When trying to find your workspace, you need to find something that suits your style.

Do you need food or coffee when you write? Then your kitchen or a coffee shop might be best for you.

Do you need quiet? Your bedroom, or even your closet might be a good choice. You need a space that helps your creative flow, rather than a place that works against it.

 2. Clean or messy?

Some writers are clean and organized, others are messy and unorganized, some are even a mix of the two. People say that you have to be organized, or your desk must be clean to get your creative juices flowing, but these are all lies.

I’ve found that there is little difference in my writing when I have a clean space versus a messy one. The biggest difference actually hasn’t been made by the neatness of my space, but by the organization of it. If I’m unorganized, I can’t find notes or pens quickly, causing me to lose my train of thought. Find what works for you and stick to it. Don’t give into peer pressure!

3. Customize

This is one of the most important things you can do to your workspace. You need to make your desk (or floor, or whatever you might use) your own. This can be as big as cleaning out a room, painting it, and hanging posters on the wall, or you can make small changes, like framing a picture or taping an inspirational quote to your computer. Something that I like to do is find fun pencils to use in my writing, or brightly-colored folders to organize my notes. Again, find what works for you.

Do you have a particular spot that you’ve claimed as your writing workspace?

PRACTICE

Find your workspace. Find a place that works for you using these tips and write. If you’ve already found your workspace, mix it up a little and see if it makes any difference in your writing. Freewrite for fifteen minutes and post your practice in the comments. Have fun!

About The Magic Violinist

The Magic Violinist is a young author who writes mostly fantasy stories. She loves to play with her dog and spend time with her family. Oh, and she's homeschooled. You can visit her blog at themagicviolinist.blogspot.com. You can also follow The Magic Violinist on Twitter (@Magic_Violinist).

  • Half-naked under my table, hiding from my computer. That’s me!

    Quiet is usually helpful. When the kids are screaming and the wife is asking me to do something every 5 minutes, I can’t seem to get a darn thing done! But, I have two special places. First, is the bedroom with the door shut. But I usually lay on the bed and try to fall asleep. The best place has been riding in a vehicle.

    Once I get the ball rolling on my writing, it doesn’t matter where I am, because I am in my book.

    • themagicviolinist

      I agree with you on that one. 🙂 When I’m really absorbed with a book I’m writing, even when I’m not writing it, it seeps into my life. I find myself thinking about the next chapters I’ll write, when I fall asleep I’ll dream about my characters. It’s awesome. 🙂

  • It’s funny how we get stuck in our little rituals. I have a home office, but I can’t write there. Well, I can write blog posts and e-mails and lesson plans at my desk. But when I am ready to write something creative, I have to grab a pen and notebook and get out of the office. In the morning, I write at my kitchen table or in a coffee shop. Evenings, I like to lay in bed and write after my kids are asleep. When I hike, I bring a notebook along and find myself sitting in the middle of the woods scribbling away. But as soon as I sit at my desk, the analytical editor side of my brain rushes out and takes over!

    • I have major issues with my internal editor wanting to criticize me for my writing, but never spending all my time on the internet. Stupid internal editor.

      My best stuff comes out away from the computer, with food ol’ fashioned paper and pencil.

    • themagicviolinist

      That’s so funny! 🙂 I think going out somewhere is the best thing any writer can do for themselves when faced with writer’s block. Going somewhere new with new noises and new experiences is enough to get your brain working.

  • For years my study at home was primarily for “working from home”, with occasional use for personal stuff. Now I’m no longer a wage slave, it was really important to mark the change to being my writing space. I did this simply by rearranging the furniture – principally turning the desk round to face the other way! This was an important step in reclaiming the space for its new, more creative, purpose…

    • themagicviolinist

      Yes! Just the simple act of turning a desk to face a different way is enough to inspire something new. 🙂

    • Adds a whole new literal meaning to looking at things from a different angle.

  • Nidhi

    I certainly need a lot of ‘white noise’ around me, to write. Ideally that white noise must be accompanied by a buzz of people moving about in their own businesses of lives. Like you could not put me in a basement of a factory with motors and pumps running, and with just me there. Give me the people—people who area alive and moving, but who DO NOT relate to me….DO NOT come to talk to me. Thus, I can be at a cafe or a museum lobby…..but never in a canyon by myself. I love nature, but I am a people writer.

    • I’m a white-noise writer too. I’m either at the coffee shop down the street (they have killer scones), or at my desk in my bedroom with 90’s alternative rock in my earphones.
      Don’t get me wrong, 90’s alternative rock isn’t noise.
      I mean . . .
      Anyway.
      But I don’t get ideas at the coffee shop or with music, though. I always get my ideas either when I’m making coffee, running, driving, falling asleep, or in the shower.
      So I always have my smartphone handy to jot down those pesky ideas in Evernote. Most of the time. When it’s not too dangerous.

      • “When it’s not too dangerous.”

        Nice addition. I take that means that you don’t try to write a novel and drive at the same time. I like you already.

    • themagicviolinist

      Me, too! 🙂 I love having at least a little bit of noise around me no matter what I’m doing. If I’m writing, I need music or the sound of my little brother clicking his mouse while he’s playing a video game. If I’m reading, I like to hear people talking or the sound of the ocean behind me (but this can only happen when I go on vacation to the beach). Even when I’m going to bed I like to have the Harry Potter audio playing. Just the sound of Jim Dale doing the voices of all the characters is soothing enough for sleep. Though every once in a while, silence is good for me. 😉

    • I can write in either or, but when I’m having a hard time starting a writing session, my mind wants to focus on everything but writing, so the white noise will be a distraction.

  • nicegirl

    Just sit down, write and keep writing until other obligations interfere. To me, writing in NOT an obligation, its something I enjoy. Important to write whenever possible and not when you feel like it. Simply sit down and write, no matter how good or bad it might seem. Even a short few minutes is worthwhile. You never know what gems you might come up with.

    • jdstone

      I agree. I try…no, I don’t try, I do write every single day, even if it’s only in my journal. And you know what they say, “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

      • jiche

        Couldn’t agree more!

    • themagicviolinist

      I like your attitude. 🙂 Writing isn’t just a hobby for me, but it’s not an obligation either. It’s what I eat, sleep, and breath with.

    • This is exactly how I write.

      One of my favorite phrases to myself is:

      Never stop yourself from writing something stupid.
      Never stop yourself from correcting something stupid.

      Write it first, then don’t be afraid to edit it, or listen to advice on what could be better.

  • I find where I prefer to write depends on what I’m working on. When I work on my novel I like classical or powerfully emotional music playing, or complete silence. I love writing at an art museum or somewhere very beautiful, I find it seeps into the imagery. Typically though I write in the lightest, brightest, calmest room of my house; in my favorite wing-back chair; with a good view the yard full of oak trees, birds, and the street.

    • themagicviolinist

      That’s really interesting. 🙂 I like to create playlists on my iPod for each book I’m writing, so when I’m writing it I can shuffle the playlist and really get into the mood of the story. I never thought about doing the same thing with my location. Thanks for the inspiration. 😉

      • I haven’t tried changing location very often, but when I’m driving places, I notice things to add to my story in the scenery around me.

    • I love classical-type music. I usually find the words distracting. Other times, I just want the silence. It depends a lot on whether I can find a piece of music that suits the mood and feelings I’m trying to inspire in the reader. I’ve found, for my fantasy novel that I am writing, Adrian von Ziegler’s music on YouTube has been an inspiration to me. He puts a lot of emotion into some of his works, and other pieces take you to amazing fantasy words.

      One day, I hope, I will write music that is nearly as good as his.

  • Hope this isn’t too long:

    “Crazy.” I said. “The desire to scratch is maddening.”

    “So scratch.” Robilar chuckled. “What’s hard about that?”

    “He cannae. He be infected with Tianarri moss.”

    “Wen returns.” Lady Orwen called.

    “I’ll fill you in later, Robilar.” ‘Maybe.’

    The Gorauch approached at a shambling run. The way his limbs flopped about, as if not under his control, caused a knot to form in my belly, pushing out the urge to scratch. My heart kicked into overdrive as I locked onto his approach. I threw a glance over my shoulder to my Rishka. Seeing she was safe, though intent on the approach of the white-haired Elven, I turned back. I raised my sword while I did so.

    “Carter?” Lady Orwen said. My name was the signal Wen waited for. He launched himself into a sprint at me, eyes ablaze. “He’s possessed!”

    “Wen!” His brother shouted. Time slowed around me. I moved to intercept him. “No, Carter. He’s my brother!”

    Corath’s voice sounded like an old seventy-eight record played at thirty-three and a third rotations per minute. The controlled Elven’s steps slowed as if he were running through molasses, then halted. I broke into a run, and raced passed Wen. As I did, I caught whiff of decayed vanilla: a L’Arc demon had him. I hoped what I learned about possession during game sessions was accurate and the demon’s body would be nearby. ‘Kill the body, kill the possessor.’

    I found the L’Arc standing at the edge of a wall, staring at Wen’s back. This one was different from the others. Its shoulders were broader and it wore blackened gold plate mail. The others were stunning, beautiful, statuesque and nude women with flawless milky skin, raven hair, large bat wings that unfurled from their shoulders and slender black tails. This one had scars over its face, eagle
    wings and stubble over its jaw. This one must have been one of the males. ‘Wow. Belial, or his dad, are sexist bastards. They have the females running around naked, yet they cover the males in heavy armor.’ Not that I wanted to see this demon without clothes. Time resumed its movement. The demon registered my presence, eyes wide. As its mouth dropped open, I ran it through with my sword.

    “Carter!” I spun around at Dearbhaile’s scream. The others were under attack. I raced back to my friends. Halfway there, a rush of wings caused me to halt. The sky was blotted out by the shadows of about twenty L’Arc demons. I didn’t wait for them to land before scything into them. Stupid demons.

    I heard my love scream again. I looked over. A large, muscular humanoid with greenish-black skin stretched tight over its frame had her neck in an immense clawed hand. It flipped it’s middle claw in the air, then vanished with a boom. I howled my rage to the heavens. A crimson fog descended over my eyes. I slashed, and chopped, sliced and hacked at any demon that was near me. I stopped when I saw Corath’s brother before me.

    “Greetings, Carter Blake.” Wen’s mouth was moving, but I recognized that hoarse, graveled and sweet voice. It was Belial. Now I knew who had my love. “I have your woman. If you want to see her again, come to the former tower of Wizard Cora.”

    I pointed my blade between Wen’s eyes. “I’m coming for you, Belial.”

    He laughed. I bellowed and cleaved his neck with the sharp dryad weapon. Wen’s head fell from his body, still laughing. I kicked it away, and shut my eyes. I visualized the opulent room where I’d last seen Wizard Cora. I saw again the torches as they burned in brackets on stone walls, rich tapestries hung here and there. I remembered seeing the thickest rug I had ever encountered. I was able to see the entrapment sigil drawn on the floor underneath. The sounds of the battle faded until all was silence. I felt a pressure on my body not unlike that time I’d went scuba diving in the summer of my ninth year. I remembered marveling at the knowledge of all those tons of water surrounding my body, waiting to crush me, yet knowing my soft form was capable of withstanding it. I pushed that memory away and refocused on the summoning chamber.

    The pressure vanished. I opened my eyes, and saw the chamber I’d been visualizing. ‘How the hell did I do that?’ I shrugged away the question. I’d worry about it later. I readied my sword and went to the door. I placed my ear to it. I heard nothing, so I opened it. The hallway was also lit by torches. I surprised one of the short humanoid wingless bat-like creatures I’d encountered during my escape from Belial’s fortress. The thing’s angry red muscles rippled as it moved, causing a clear, glistening and viscous fluid to roil down its body. Nictating membranes flicked across its oil drop eyes when it saw me standing there. I reacted first, slashing my blade across its throat. Blue ichor splashed my front as it collapsed. I continued on. Down a second hall, I spotted another of the demons standing guard outside a big wooden door. I slipped along, until I was about a meter away. ‘I hope this doesn’t turn my way.’ It did. It chittered something at the top of its voice, raising a spear. The door
    was yanked open. A L’Arc spilled out, shield leading the way. At the same time,
    a blackish green demon with oversized claws appeared beside me. It was either
    the one that too my Rishka, or was similar. Either way, it had my full attention. I lunged at it.

    A clawed hand intercepted my sword and redirected it to the side. I was hit from behind and shoved towards an incoming swipe from the other hand. My chest was slashed open and I found myself behind the L’Arc. I thrust my blade into her back, right between her wings. It went in as if she were warm butter. The bat-like demon thrust its spear through the L’Arc’s body and into my left bicep. I screamed, and was behind it without my sword. I felt as if my hands were guided by another as I gripped its head and put it in the path of the black demon’s stab. I shoved the smaller demon forward, further impaling it on the other’s claws. It sliced my face. I growled, and tried to ignore the burning of four cuts traveling from my forehead to my cheeks. I don’t understand how the demon missed my eyes, but I was glad it did. ‘Damned thing tried to blind me!’

    It went for my eyes again. I grabbed its wrist. Blasted demon was a hell of a lot stronger than me. All I managed to do was slow the approach of those lethal claws. Once more, I had the feeling that another guided my hand as I punched the demon in the base of its neck. The force on my right hand let up. I rammed the clawed hand into the demon’s own eyes and into its brain. The demons
    fell to the floor. I bent at the waist, panting. The adrenaline seeped out, allowing me to feel my wounds more. I leaned against the wall. I gritted my
    teeth, then bit my tongue to keep the blackness at bay. ‘Dearbhaile needs us, you sissy. Get going!’

    My left arm burned like fire. I pushed the pain back enough so I could enter the open door. Belial stood within as if he’d been waiting for me. Belial leered at me.

    “Where is Dearbhaile?” I yelled.

    “She’s… being taken care of.” He laughed. “You’re all alone Carter Blake. No Moment of Prescience, no Dearbhaile to rescue you. This time, I’m going to kill you.”

    “Before, I might have needed them. I’m not the same person the surrendered to you to be your slave. I’ve grown.” I raised my sword, tilted my head to the left and right, making it crackle. “Let’s dance, monkey.”

    He snarled, showing off his black teeth, and charged. Our blades clashed, sending shockwaves through my arms. I tightened my grip, and pushed the steel against his snow white one. I knew he was stronger than me, and wanted him to push back harder.

    The half demon shoved hard. I ducked and at the same time, released my weapon. As I hoped, his arms went over my head, leaving him flat footed. His sword arm was across his chest, and I was in perfect position. I punched him in the groin as hard as I could. With both fists. All the air left his lungs in a rush. His grip slackened on the white sword which dropped. Mind blank, I snatched it from the air, spun 180 degrees, and after spinning the weapon to a better grip, slammed the length into him.

    • themagicviolinist

      Wow, this is great! 😀 I loved that you went crazy with it! I found myself so absorbed in it that I forgot I was reading a blog comment rather than a fantasy novel. 😉

      • Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. I aim to have Into the Realm: The Chronicles of Carter Blake published in November. (this is a small part I added in) 😀

  • jdstone

    I’ve wanted to write for several years and made feeble attempts here and there but my obligations as a husband, father and pastor were just too demanding for me to devote the time I felt I needed to write seriously, so I just limited it to writing in my journal. Now that my children are all grown and gone on their own, my wife realizes just how important this is to me and has agreed to allow me my space and time to pursue an adventure in writing. I still have obligations, but over the years, I’ve learned to separate the important from the urgent and now find that organization of time is key. I just started my first book. Actually, I decided to make it a short, short story and enter it into the Writer’s Digest competition later this year.

    I have to be in my office at my desk to write. If I hear the television or music from the other rooms, I have to turn on my fan to block it out. I can have some soft music playing in the background but only instrumentals, no words because I find myself wanting to sing along. My desk must be semi-clean before I start. If other projects are on my desk when I start writing, they begin screaming at me for attention. And finally, I can jot down ideas when I’m out and about or record them on my phone, but I can’t write because I’m too easily distracted.

    • themagicviolinist

      You and my mom have similar tastes when it comes to a writing workspace. She likes her things not necessarily neat, but well organized, she also can’t listen to music with lyrics (because she’ll start belting them out), and she’s also very easily distracted, especially on the internet.

      Good luck in the Writer’s Digest contest. 🙂

      • The internet to me is Writer’s Bane. (except here at TWP)
        Laying in bed is Writer-nip, I start catnapping.

    • Well, not to be rude in anyway, but I think it is kind of a poor that you put off writing for so long. I have two kids and a full time job, on top of helping run a farm. Still yet, my in-laws are “sociable” people, they expect me to spend time with them. I still write, and at a pace them I’m finding every day isn’t as ineffective as it has seemed. I’ve wrote 50k words in three months and that is with cutting a few edits on written material. If someone were to say that it couldn’t be done, well, I’m doing it.

      • jdstone

        You are awesome!

        • Thank you, but I think everyone has the capacity. They believe they can’t do something and become the one thing that is holding them back.

  • Diana Shallard

    I have a part-time job that puts me in a quiet setting with little disruption. (A house-sitting gig of sorts.) I’m lucky to have such a time and place to write, but I know it’d be ruined if I turned on the Internet. Therefore, I refuse to ask for the wifi password. It’s amazing what a basic computer allows us to do. (Aka, not posting comments like THIS!) 😉

    • jdstone

      That’s fortunate for you to be afforded a place of solitude of sorts to write for a while. I don’t tend to get bogged down with the computer. I like to explore writing sites and write on my blog, but other than that, I pretty much limit it to research. And you are absolutely correct about the computer being such an amazing tool. I went to the library the other day because I was feeling kind of nostalgic but then realized what a tremendous amount of time I spent just browsing the shelves. I came straight back home and found what I was looking for in minutes.

    • themagicviolinist

      Ha! I’d like to think that turning off the internet would make me write more, but I think it’d just drive me crazy. I’m constantly doing Google searches for random things like interesting last names that start with “M,” if taxis accept credit cards, and how to spell “onomatopoeia” (which, ironically enough, I had to search how to spell for this comment)!

    • I agree with the other opinions, it can be extremely useful for research. But that is IT! Blogs and such just take up too much time. I respond to everyone, write blog post, and before I know it, all my writing time is gone.

      I will spend time on here though, because I’ve found it is another writing zone for me. Whenever I have writer’s block, The Write Practice usually helps me break it.

  • catmorrell

    Writing in different places and spaces brings different attitudes and thoughts to whatever I am working on. However, the space that is mine is a former girls locker room turned into a bridal dressing room then a storage room. I have made it my own in exchange for cleaning the Event Center known as the Olde School. I attended this school for six years in the 1960s. The image of my special room is too large to upload here. The space is about 6 feet wide and 20-30 feet long. The ceiling is 14 feet high crisscrossed with insulated pipes and a small window at the very top of the back end. There are seven large mirrors decorating the space with opportunities for 360 views of yourself. The mirrors must stay for use as a bridal room again. I am getting used to them and they do make the room feel larger. They also incorporate and flash around the little natural light from the window. The fake flowers need to go, but that can wait till after NaNo. Two dressing counters adorn two walls and make great space for laying out notes and pictures. I have added my favorite chaise and the old oak rocking chair my mother rocked me in as a baby. My quiet corner is near the restroom of the basement of the event center. I can hide out there and receive very little outside interference. The only company being my furry Buddy who lays quietly under the counter at my feet.

    • Katie Hamer

      Sounds like an interesting space to be writing in. I also think it is important to write in different places, in order to introduce different view points. I spend a few hours a week volunteering in a charity shop, and sometimes find myself jotting down a few ideas on scraps of paper during a quieter moment, between customers.

      • catmorrell

        Charity shops would be full of interesting characters and dialog. Great idea. We have our Writing Group in an assisted living facility. One day a very elderly man wandered in with a decided mid western twang and word usage. I wrote down everything he said to add to my story set partly in Kansas in the 30s. Thank you for the idea and the response.

    • themagicviolinist

      This sounds like a really cool writing space. 🙂 I think the mirrors would really add a unique dynamic to workspace.

      • catmorrell

        Thank you. They have grown on me.

    • My writing spaces are usually seated in front of a computer or riding in a car.

      I’ve debated on taking the 4-wheeler out and setting on a hill or in the woods around my place. I just haven’t done it yet. It might be an interesting experience. And my wife could only nag me when I come back.
      🙂

  • Karoline Kingley

    Since my room is decorated to tantalize my story-telling instincts, I find that the chair right under my bookshelf is often the perfect writing nook. Occasionally though, I like to switch it up by going ALL the way to the living room (gasp), where I can sit and work. I find that with my family coming in and out and having little conversations with them can help me write…I don’t know, more…realistically? Maybe it’s helpful for dialogue or something when you don’t stay inside your head for the whole process.

    • themagicviolinist

      That’s an interesting thought about dialogue. 🙂 A trick I use when writing dialogue is to pick a person I know and imagine that person saying what I’m writing. I can tell if it sounds believable that way.

    • Honestly, beside staying to the point with dialog, I’ve found it doesn’t seem to be challenging most of the time. Everyone has their own struggles though. I have noticed though, that too lengthy dialog is one of the most easily noticed dialog flukes.

  • Claire

    Since I’ve had to give up my study because of different living arrangements in my home, I decided to make the finished basement my home-base for writing. i have set it up with reference books I use, pencils, pads, file folders, etc., so that I have everything that I need handy. My work table is small, but it serves the purpose. I have all the amenities in this location that I need. It is quiet and private, ensconcing me of any distractions from the upstairs crowd.

    I have also found that I don’t need to necessarily be in this particular location to write. When the muse hits, I can be anywhere in the house or outside of it and be very productive. If the muse hits me at an importune time, I simply grab my phone and record the idea for future development.

    Background music, especially classical, as well as coffee are an integral part of keeping that muse hovering about. I can really focus and concentrate to the fullest when I’m listening to classical music. And as for
    coffee . . . well . . let’s just say that it provides the jolt that I need to keep my senses and imagination at full throttle.

    • themagicviolinist

      My substitution for coffee is hot chocolate, milkshakes, and/or candy of some kind. 🙂 The sugar gives me the creative boost that I need when I have a particularly bad case of writer’s block.

    • When the muse comes, I don’t even have to jot it down, though most of the time I do. Most of the time, the idea is profound enough that I won’t forget it.

      What are your favorite picks for classical music?

      Are you writing a novel, and if so, what genre?

      • Claire

        James, from your comment I can see that you good retentive capacities. You are blessed. I have a good memory, but need to write things down or record them as they come to me because my mind can get bogged down with other things, and I certainly would hate to loose a scathingly brilliant thought because I didn’t jot it down somewhere for future retrieval.

        My tastes in classical music are varied, but I basically gravitate to the music of Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Schubert, Lecuona and many others. I also love opera, especially the tragic ones.

        At the present time, I’m not writing a novel. I like to write fictional short stories on common themes that readers can relate to; things that can pull at the heartstrings or can make you chuckle at times.

        • Writing short story is highly underrated. I really enjoyed the one I finish, and really want to finish the second one I started.

          As for memory, it is highly selective. I can remember things about my book, or things I learned in high school. But, upon request to pick up pizza or my wife after work, oops!

  • Mostly, I write in my kitchen at the table or countertop. But I like variety, so I will sometimes write in my prayer room upstairs or out on the deck or porch or at a coffee shop. I even write watching TV sometimes. I find that variety helps trigger different ideas and even different ways of writing.

    • themagicviolinist

      I like variety, too. 🙂 I like that I have a laptop now, rather than just a desktop, because it allows me to move to different rooms in the house easily.

      I envy your ability to multitask. 😉 I could never watch TV and write at the same time. Our family’s computer room is write next to the living room, so when the TV is turned on, I can see and hear everything. That’s usually when I grab my laptop and move somewhere else.

      • I like my laptop for that reason too, but I actually still do quite a bit of writing – and almost always outlining – the old-fashioned way. Just like the thought process I need when I write by hand.
        It’s more that I tune things out than it is multi-tasking. I can sometimes read when the TV is on, but it’s usually sports. Didn’t used to be able to do this, but I guess I just learned.

        • I, too, write by hand. Some of my best writing comes out when I am writing by hand. It is also much more convenient when you need to draw something, layout of the scenery, or even take notes in the margin.

          I can’t write and watch TV either.

          • Me too… writing by hand produces some of my best writing. Plus, I get a good dose of editing in when I type out what I first hand wrote.
            Perhaps this writing while watching TV is more of a unique skill than I though. I do it all the time.

  • I’m a pretty spoiled writer. My son no longer lives at home, but I still have a two-bedroom apartment just so I can have an office.

    Except that I can’t write in the office! Even though no one else is around, I feel very cut off. So, I rearranged the (small) living room and now have my desk, drawers, paper shelves, and filing cabinet in the living room.

    I can look out the patio or easily move out there if I want. When I take a break Ican watch people go by or the enjoy the squirrels in the tree.

    If my writing space isn’t neat, I find that I can’t concentrate – I’m too worried about all the stuff I need to file. So, I keep it tidy and always have a notebook handy to keep track of random thoughts that threaten to derail me from writing.

    So far, so good!

    • Missaralee

      I have the same feeling about my office Rhonda! I cleared it all out and set up my power bar and then still plunk my laptop down on the kitchen table to work. I feel like I’ve been locked away when I try to sit at the desk, even when there’s no one around.

    • themagicviolinist

      This sounds awesome. 🙂 I totally agree with you on having a notebook nearby! When I think of something I have to write it down right away. If I can’t, I get a little cranky when someone tries to talk to me, because then it distracts me and I forget what I had to write down!

    • Oh yes! I take my big composition book with me when I go somewhere. All other times I keep a small composition book in my back pocket.

      I’ve gotten out of the habit, but I use to write all kind of notes to myself on the back pocket and read it frequently. It is a habit I need to get back into because I forget things I’m supposed to do all the time.

      Usually, if I write something down, I remember it. If I don’t I forget it.

      • James, I’m the exact same way. I’ve learned to stop everything and write it down immediately. Later, I often realize that some of my best ideas or phrases or solutions can be found in my notebook. I love my notebook!

  • I have 2 places: in the mornings I write on my dining table, and in the evenings I write in a food court. I would prefer a coffee shop but I can’t seem to find a good one with an empty table.

    • themagicviolinist

      Ha, that’s how our local coffee shop is on Tuesdays (which is half-price sandwich day). 🙂 It’s almost impossible to find a seat, let alone a table!

    • Don’t feel bad. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a coffee shop honestly.

  • Winnie

    Apart from my three regular spots, I also scribble while sitting in the sitting room while I wait for dinner to cool before serving/half-watching boring TV/half-listening to radio news I’ve already heard during the day, etc. Then I become surprisingly productive. While my dinner cools to a greasy mess and announcers babble on un-lstened to I become completely absorbed. Does this happen to anybody else?

    • Michael Marsh

      When I am really into the writing nothing else exists. I am words and paper. My body, the world, worries and joys remove themselves to some small space in my mind until I am finished. The only other activity that is close to this in its all encompassing concentration is drawing.

      • Katie Hamer

        I agree. I think the best writing or drawing happens when you’re fully absorbed in it. It can be very therapeutic.

      • themagicviolinist

        I know exactly how that is! 🙂 When I’m really into my writing, I become so absorbed that my parents have to call my name several times to get my attention.

        • Haha. My wife has done that to me a time or two. Often she will get a blank stare that lasts several moments before I break away and realize what I’m doing.

    • themagicviolinist

      Huh, that’s really interesting. 🙂 I love hearing all of these different stories! It really shows off everyone’s personalities.

  • Michael Marsh

    I am living in my art studio. Things that I made hang about, and make music as move around. Just behind my little room is a pen where two goats and many chickens live. They sing to me about life in captivity, strange songs with many verses. The chickens are much louder and complain more. Sometimes the larger goat, the mother of the other one, gets out and knocks with her hard hoof on the glass of my back door. She gazes in hopefully. I have no idea what she wants, but I give her some grain and push her back in the pen. She looks at me with her slitted pupil, and I can’t begin to know what it is like to be a goat living in small pen with a bunch of complaining birds. I go back to my room and think about my own problems and try to be the best human I can be.

    • Katie Hamer

      Wow, what a strange bunch of raucous creatures to keep you company. I like the way you’ve given them all characters!

      • Michael Marsh

        I pay attention to my initial reaction when I meet up with anything new to me. It is usually the one that makes the most sense. I can usually get a feel for the character in the person, animal or situation. I keep checking though, because sometimes my first reaction is totally off base.

        • I have 3 pigs, 2 goats, and 20-some cows. But fortunately, they are usually not much of a bother. They give me idea every now and then though, while I’m about feeding them grain or slop.

    • themagicviolinist

      Wow, great descriptions! 😀 Your art studio sounds like a lively place.

    • jiche

      Wow,brilliant! I admire how vivid your description of your workspace.

  • Kurt

    I worked nights years ago when I did the most writing and when I got off work at midnight I would write until 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning. I wrote at a desk in the basement which worked because everyone was upstairs asleep. I have a difficult time if I have anyone or anything that might need my attention. Now I like the patio. The patio table is clean and early Saturday morning everyone is still in slumber. I look forward to the day that I no longer have to go to a “real job” and can focus on more eternal things. Thanks for hosting!

    • themagicviolinist

      I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to write that late at night! I’m very much a night owl, but I don’t think my brain would function very well at 3 in the morning, especially not well enough to write!

      Writing outside is great. 🙂 There’s so much in nature that can inspire you!

    • I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve left work behind last June. My family and I are better for it.
      Sure, it takes some planning, some hard work, and some guts. But it’s possible to be your own boss.
      “Real jobs” are overrated, anyway.

    • I often write after my kids and wife are asleep through out the week. I often find myself not wanting to go to bed and wanting to write more. But then again, I’ve always had a habit of staying up too late.

  • zeus

    Writing is one of my favorite activities. I often write in my bed room. It is quite with the window open to garden. So it is also windy. I often open some romantic music during writing. They help me to get more inspiration for writing. Besides that, when I feel tired, I will sleep on the bed next to the desk.

    Since I have owned the laptop, I often write something on it instead of using the pen and paper. It has more benefit for me. It is easy to save and send to anywhere. I can modify any sections in my writing. So I love to use laptop to write in my bedroom.

    Thanks

    • themagicviolinist

      That’s great that you’ve already found your writing space. 🙂 When I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by noises and people and action, I’ll retreat to my bedroom, put on my iPod, and write in solitude. It’s very refreshing.

    • I carry my story in my pocket on a jump drive. I regularly back it up to my computer.

  • Charly Priest

    I´all over the place since I can only use one computer which is not mine by the way,so I keep all my notes, outlines, and the rest on paper. I constantly walk around with a back pack, and I´m already known as the “backpack guy”, but I have to since I can sit in a bench a write a few scenes and then rewrite it to the computer page. I don´t know if it´s good or bad, works for me. But I´d surely prefer to have a room just for me, a nice computer and with wooden furniture. That´s a dream.

    • themagicviolinist

      Keep that dream alive, Charly. 🙂 If you really want it badly enough, it’ll come true!

      There’s something about writing on paper that really makes your story pop. It’s so much more different than writing on the computer, but I definitely prefer typing to writing.

    • Sometimes we can’t always be in an idyllic space. I don’t feel like I have a spot that is easily my own. At home at my desk, I’ve got kids crawling in and out of my lap all day long. Sometimes I regret putting that recliner so close to my desk.

  • Katie Hamer

    I find it’s not so much the place to write but the time to write that eludes me. I have a flexible working schedule, which means I can end up working different or more hours at very short notice. It can make it difficult to plan ahead, or get into a particular rhythm or routine. Any suggestions?

    • themagicviolinist

      Ooh, finding time to write can be tricky, especially as you get older and have more obligations.

      Here’s what I would do (but feel free to do whatever you’d like). I would pay attention to how much time you’re spending with each activity on a normal work day. Write down how long it takes for you to get ready, eat lunch, go to work, everything. Write down the time you spend on your hobbies (reading, watching TV, etc.). Then take a look at what you’ve written. Is there anything you can cut? Can you skip watching TV for an hour at night in exchange for an hour of writing time? If you’re really serious about writing, you’ll probably find something you can cut or trim back on!

      Good luck, and I hope this helps. 🙂

      • Katie Hamer

        Thank you so much for your suggestions. I will definitely take a closer look at how I’m spending my time, and sort out my priorities. At the moment I feel quite lucky, as my mind is teaming with ideas. For me, worrying about productivity targets and end results can stifle my creativity. I think, for now, I will just enjoy the journey. 🙂

        • Enjoying writing is the best approach to writing.

          Its damn hard to write when you are bored or trying to meet some quota.

          I know how the time shortage can be. Honestly, I get really pissed when I sit down and have writer’s block, because I simply don’t have enough time to waste. I’ve gotten better about that though.

          If you haven’t tried or don’t do pencil and paper, try that. I’ve found I can do that when I’m riding in a vehicle. Honestly, it makes me wish I had the option of taking a bus to work.

          Use those weekends, and beat up family and friend if you have to on weekends to get them to leave you alone for a few minutes to write. At the same time, you have to keep a balance of those things.

          Think. If you are doing mindless work, let your mind weave away at the story.

          Otherwise, listen to the violinist above, which I don’t remember her name but find her to be extremely intelligent and ambitious. If I remember correctly, she is only thirteen. She is awesome. She has a lot more focus than I did at her age. And I wasn’t advanced for my age. Heck, she has more focus than most adults I’ve seen.

      • Katie Hamer

        Hi, Kate. I just wanted to let you know that I took your advice. Yes, there are time-wasting things that I can remove from my day-to-day routine, and that is exactly I’m going to do. Thank you! 🙂

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