The places where writers write can almost take on a mythological quality. After all, this act of inspiration meeting paper (or computer keyboard) does have a quality of mystery to it, and we seek to make it somehow tangible. I live in Western Massachusetts and have the privilege of having both the Emily Dickinson Homestead Museum and the Mark Twain Homestead Museum within relatively close proximity. It is truly amazing to see the places where these individuals composed their lasting words. One almost hopes that by being in the same place, one might absorb some of the inspiration.
Writers are as individual as anyone else in society. We all have our own quirks, our own preferences for where we like to write. Virginia Woolf stated that a woman writer must have a “room of one’s own” in order to avoid distractions. Stephen King offers similar advice to writers of either gender. “If possible, there should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames 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.”
Other writers thrive at the local coffee shop or café. For example, J.K. Rowling wrote much of the Harry Potter series while sitting in cafes.
It obviously depends on the individual. Perhaps the same individual can benefit from different writing environments at different times, depending on one’s mood.
I actually don’t have one set writing space. I’m a homeschooling mom, so time to myself is a rare thing. After the kids go to bed, I work at my job as an editor and blogger. Therefore, I have to take time to write fiction whenever life supplies it. I’ve worked on stories in grocery stores, on soccer fields, in children’s museums, in the park, in bookstores, in the car, outside, inside . . . really, wherever I had a few minutes and a piece of paper. I’m not even sure what I would choose as my ideal writing location if I had the choice.
These days, I write while I’m waiting for my sons at their activities. I’ve claimed two spots for my own and have included the photos here. The first is in the anteroom of an old church. There’s my notebook and Coke Zero (need the caffeine and I don’t drink coffee). The second is at my local library. It’s usually pretty busy when I go and all the tables are claimed, so I sit in this comfy chair by the window. When I’m searching for inspiration, I like to look out the window and see what’s going on in the world.
What writing location(s) do you claim as your own?