A Writing Spot of One’s Own

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?

About AnneFaye

Anne Faye writes from Western Massachusetts and is the author of The Rose Ring and Through the Open Window, and blogs at http://www.annefaye.blogspot.com/. You can follow her on Twitter at @AnneMFaye
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8 Responses to A Writing Spot of One’s Own

  1. Dennis P. McGeehan says:

    My preferred writing spot is my den, a small room off our bedroom. I LOVE my commute to work, about 15 steps from my bed. It sure beats the 18 miles up oer a mountain I did for 27 years. My second spot is the dining room table with my laptop.

    I have distractions in the den but they are actually more pauses that refresh me. I will write 1 hour to 3 hours . Somewhere in the time span I hit the wall and have no idea what to put on paper (screen) next. Inspiration comes when I am walking, praying, in the shower, many places. It just comes, it’s not me but rather it’s a gift from God.

  2. I am blessed to have an office space in the upstairs gabled room. Though, most of my writing begins in the Adoration Chapel.

  3. Rhonda Ortiz says:

    We recently moved to a new home and with it acquired some office space. My husband took all his books to work (he’s a professor), leaving the home office almost entirely to me. After many years of marriage, I love having a “room of one’s own” again, and I find that it really does facilitate my writing.

    But, having a two-year-old, I often capitulate to corporate America (sort of) and work at McDonald’s while my son plays on their jungle gym. For the price of a cup of milk and a decaf coffee, it’s a mighty fine writing set-up.

  4. D. C. DaCosta says:

    My only real distraction is the Internet. Even though my chair abuts a window looking out on a busy street, I can write all day if I turn off the wireless .

    • Deborah says:

      Me too. I shouldn’t even be on-line reading this! I need to be in my room with the door shut, a pencil in hand and a yellow legal pad in front of me (still love to hand write and then type).

  5. Ann Seeton says:

    I’ve written about my journey on this very topic! http://hg2au.com/2012/01/07/discovering-important-things-about-yourself/

    I have since further modified my personal space to increase efficiency. I need to blog about that too.

    I need to be able to hear the family but be protected from certain noises while I work. With small children this sometimes fails. Still, my office is my favorite room.

  6. I have a unique typing environment: my laptop is hooked up to my television via a HDMI cable, a wireless mouse, and a wireless keyboard complete the hardware setup as I recline on my couch in my living room and type away! I actually find having the internet at my disposal very helpful for both research and listening to music as I type.

    When I do not feel like turning on my laptop (when I do I’m usually typing for hours), I hand write in composition books. Hand writing frees me to be creative in other places. Though I’m usually at home when I write, I have written sections of stories in a variety of places: a state park, a laundry mat, and even at the car service center when getting the oil changed in my vehicle.