Sunday, January 24, 2010

Your Writing Space?

by Raelene Gorlinsky

Some writers say they can write anywhere, they just lug their laptop wherever they go. Some love to work at their local coffee shop, they like the energy and people and stimulation (and caffeine stimulant). Others need quiet and no distractions, a private spot.

So where do you write and what type of environment do you need to do your best plotting and wordsmithing? Are there things you like to have around you to inspire you or put you in the mood? What does your writing retreat look like? I have little touches of loveliness and whimsy in my home office, they make me happy while I work. For example, my pens are not in a drawer, they are in a pretty gold-rimmed flowers-and-butterflies mug. I love bookmarks, and that mug also currently holds my new silver and crystal bookmark. Do you have special items sitting on your desk too? Are there things about the "writing environment" you would recommend to other authors?


Anonymous said...

I like to write in my own room, where I can close the door. It can - and does - get very messy but that doesn't bother me a bit. Until I can't manoevre the mouse. Then I do a big clean up.

Rhys Milner said...

My ideal writing space is like a mood ring, it changes depending on my headspace.

This can be a problem as occasionally I have to find a new environment to help me get past a blockage due to feeling stultified by wherever I've been writing for the last while.

ECPI Editors said...

Hmm, Rhys, that's an interesting idea -- if you have writer's block, change your writing environment. Seems like it could be a good way to jolt yourself into a new head space. (Or, of course, just another way to procrastinate from BICFOK.)


Jenna Reynolds said...

I used to spend a lot of time writing in cafes, bookstores, libraries, the Union at the university. Especially places with free refills of coffee. :)

Now, I primarily write at home, but when I do feel blocked, I also like to change my writing enviroment and I will go to a coffee shop or a bookstore to brainstorm or write. I've even sometimes written in the food court at the local mall.

The one thing I must have when I write is music. I like to create soundtracks on my Ipod for whichever project I'm currently working on.

Angelia Sparrow said...

I mostly write at home, but lately I've taken a liking to the laundromat. 35 minutes of peace and quiet in a warm, well-lit spot, as the driers tumble.

I can get about 1000 words written in that time.

I write where-ever I am. Half of GLAD HANDS was handwritten in notebooks, while sitting on loading docks and in the cab of a semi. (The original concept ambushed me at a rest-area on the Indiana tollway)

These days, it's mostly at my own desk, with my water at my elbow, listening to the kids watch "The Simpsons" and my husband play poker.

Lisa Calderone Roberts said...

I need to write in silence, or with "white noise" sounds in the background. I can't focus if I hear voices, music, or TV through the wall, and since we're a family of 6 that means, like, all the time. So this Christmas I asked for a white noise machine with noise-cancelling headphones. My husband bought me a "stress-reducing" noise machine from Brookstone that has all kinds of soothing background sounds, plus the headphones and now I'm all set.

Now I have no excuses...better be a productive year!

Carla Swafford said...

I can write almost anywhere and especially love classical Latin music. But I do enjoy my office with everyone out of the house the best.

Rhys Milner said...


It sure is possible for that to turn into procrastination, especially if you pick up and go somewhere overstimulating.

My first port of call is usually change the environment I'm in, open all the windows to get air or shut them to remove noise. Most commonly I pick music that is in line with what I'm trying to write at that time and then turn the speakers up to 11.

Another one is to put on movies for background ambience, though these are behind me instead of in front of me to try to avoid any undue influence on what I'm doing.

It's one thing to really like 'Ghost in the shell' or 'Running man', it's rather a different thing to realise what you're writing is a fanfic mashup of the two.

Stacy McKitrick said...

A desk? An office? Nope, my laptop is on my lap and I sit on a couch. Of course, I've been known to take my laptop to sports bars (when the game my husband wants to watch is not on our TV) and get lots of writing done. White noise is great.

The only time I have problems writing is if I can make out the conversation around me. It's too distracting. That's when I need to put on the head phones and listen to music.

Cris Anson said...

Raelene, I know what it means, but oh my, looking at the acronym, I do think of other things (as all good erotic writers should).


Cris Anson said...

It would be great if I at least spelled my name correctly.

Cris with an "i"

N.J.Walters said...

I write in a small 4 X 6 corner of the living room with a folding screen to give me two partial "walls". There is a bookshelf at my back and a desk in front of me with just enough room for a chair between them. It's cozy. *g*

All but two of my books have been written there.

I've never owned a laptop, but hubby bought me a netbook for Christmas. So far, I haven't used it at all for writing. I prefer my desk top.

Bernita said...

I converted my son's bedroom to an office.
It is presently in a squalor of papers, books and stuff that rivals his former occupancy.

Desiree Holt said...

I keep my pens in a mug, too, a gift fgrom Barbara Freethy that says "The Summer I Dared". I have a featherd Big Bird pensil my friend Allie gave me,t at sits beside my compujter and I swear winks at me. I work at a built-in work area in my great rooom with sun flooding in from both sides of me, a small TV on one shelf, and a coffee mug that a friend gave me that says I Am a Goddess. On days when the muse just doesn't want to come out of the closet the mug helps me shake her loose.

Sky Robinson said...

I like to write at the library, the gym as I'm riding stationary bike, on a plane, in the car, but I have to be at home to write a sex scene(or at least somewhere with no children, and preferably alone).

Bill Greer said...

I need a consistent quiet space. Most of my writing, the actual entering of words into Word on my computer, is done at the desk in the corner of the study. If the kids are home, it's usually too chaotic for me to concentrate and settle deep in the mindset for writing. If I'm home alone or just my wife is with me, that's not a problem.

I also do a lot of my writing in my head. The most frustrating time is when I've gone to bed and I'm not falling asleep because I'm either working out plot points in my head or rewriting a section of my current chapter.

The other place I've found is staring at the fire in the wood stove (it has glass in the front door). Home alone, staring into the fire, letting my plot and characters swirl in my head often works out many of the writing problems I'm struggling with at the moment. Obviously, this only works in the winter.

Reesha said...

These are all wonderful ideas and stories. I feel inspired. :D

For me, I have a job that unfortunately leaves me with a lot of free time while I babysit the gigantic photo printer we have. So I mostly just write at work. I've learned that seeing how many words I can hack out before the printer jams again is a great motivator. It's like me vs. printer. And oh yes, that printer has several unkind nicknames taped to it by my co-workers for all the trouble it's caused.

Rena Marks said...

I write best sitting in bed, propped with pillows. I turn up the electric blanket so it's nice and toasty...but sometimes it's 1 am before I remind myself it's technically the next day so turn off the lights!