Write of Way #2 – Where You’re Allowed to Write
Gentle background noise, cozy corners, and residual caffeine fumes make coffee shops unique in that they are the only place in all of creation in which a writer can actually sit down and write.
Oh, but wait. There is the dark bedroom.
You know the one: cast in shadow but for the almost painful glow of the computer screen and the dramatic half-light of a window set off to one side. Maybe it’s storming outside, rain lashing at the glass?
These two places make for all the diverse and interesting locations you’ll ever need in order to finish crafting your masterp—
Okay, enough bullshit.
Maybe those overly attractive people on television pretending to be writers only ever need two clichéd locations to write, but those of us in the real world recognize there’s a bit more to it.
All in all though, writing isn’t that difficult, right? “You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed,” to quote syndicated columnist Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith.
But where you sit down to bleed, er, write, can make all the difference.
You have to find your zen. And, considering my middle name is “zen,” you’ve clearly found it here, right? Right? …I apologize for that joke. Way below the usual standards. I’ll do better in the future.
But finding your zen; finding a place to write. Let’s get back to it!
A lot of the writers I know love a nice spot outside. A favorite bench at the park, or maybe a hammock in the shade. Others fantasize over a lounge chair at the beach, or a quiet spot atop a mountain.
And if it works for you, there’s nothing wrong with that.
But not every writer has a hammock to just string up willy-nilly or enough frequent flyer miles to hop a flight to the Bahamas every time creative inspiration strikes. And that’s fine too. I mean, have you actually tried to climb into a hammock? It’s like a trust fall exercise with your co-workers except you’re actually a writer who works alone and then there’s the ground rushing up and ow.
Anyway, a less exotic spot doesn’t need to be any less effective.
There are a lot of factors that can determine your most effective writing spot. Noise level, type of noise, lighting, temperature, number of other people, access to electrical outlets, Wi-Fi, nearby food and drink, the list goes on, and some factors may be more important to you than others.
Personally I prefer bright light, mild noise, and a good number of other people. I’ve most often found these conditions in university libraries. Though most aren’t open to the general public, a small donation to their “Friends of the Library” or equivalent program is often enough for a year’s worth of access.
My local university libraries allow food and drink (gotta bring that coffee!), are well-lit, and rarely crowded (watch out for exam week, however). Furthermore, most allow talking so there’s generally a low, but continual buzz of conversation. I’m quite comfortable in these conditions, thus my writing flows.
But maybe you’re not, and that’s okay. You have to find the spot that works for you.
This means you can’t be afraid to experiment. Sure, writing in a coffee shop is as clichéd as it gets, but that cliché formed for a reason. For a lot of writers, that spot works.
Or maybe you prefer to be locked in the deep dark silence of your bedroom where you can control all the above factors. Maybe you’re more comfortable somewhere in between?
Long story short, there are a plethora of places that you can use to write. Don’t feel limited in your options and don’t be afraid to experiment.
What works for you is most important.
So the next time you’re feeling stuck in your work, or you creative muse has called in sick, why not consider a change of scenery?
Get out there and find your zen!
If y’all don’t know me, I love chatting with writers about writing and all of our other bad habits. I’m always going to ask for your thoughts after these posts, and believe me, I really do want them. Feel free to respond here, or on Twitter (@GrindarkGuy, @thefantasyhive).
As always, I love to hear your thoughts. Do you have a favorite writing spot? What’s the strangest place you’ve ever tried to write? How’d it go?