Where You Write is as Important as What You Write

Have you created your writing environment yet? I’m speaking to new writers who may not know how beneficial this is, and I’m speaking to established writers who may need a recharge. Writing comfort is essential to your creative process, but the definition of comfort means different things to different people. You may need to try a few combinations before you decide on one.

I strongly suggest supportive seating whether it’s the easy chair in your living room or the straight-backed wooded chair at your kitchen table. Make sure it’s seating that you can stay in for a decent length of time.

Not exactly what I had in mind, Duncan!

Writing surfaces need to be taken into consideration, too. I love my lap desk because it puts everything at the correct height, but sometimes I’d like to not have to worry about balancing it. I’m currently on the hunt for a desk that is not higher than my lap when seated. This will eliminate much of the neck and arm strain I’m experiencing. I find most tables and desks require me to reach too far forward or upward and tilt my head at an unnatural angle for my eyes to meet my laptop screen.

Don’t forget to stand and stretch after long periods of writing, an exercise more easily done in private than public places.

Eliminating distractions is crucial to your writing practice. I find the Internet and social media to be the worst diversions because they make so many seemingly harmless interruptions easily accessible, dropping them right at my fingertips. Especially articles about British royals.

On the other hand, my laptop and Bose speakers deliver an endless supply of classical music via Sirius XM as well as custom-made playlists based on characters and scenes. Music with lyrics, however, is banished because I cannot think with someone else’s words in my head, and I enjoy singing along too much. Although, when the 1812 Overture comes on, I will stop writing long enough to direct. It’s quite a sight.

As much as I love being around people, having fewer folks present when I’m writing means fewer interruptions. That does not mean I won’t stop writing to attend to friends’ and family members’ needs; service to others most definitely takes precedence. I’m talking about writing in coffee shops, which doesn’t work for me because the constant flow of people and music with lyrics requires too much of my focus to force them into the background. If you’re able to block out the cacophony or dismiss it as white noise, I say go for it.

Keep one thing in mind, though. You’ll want to write somewhere that allows you to have a restroom break without the fear of having your laptop, notebooks, and writing instruments stolen when you step away. I have had to pack up everything to hustle to the ladies’ room. It’s not the responsibility of the staff to watch your stuff. With that being said, I find libraries to be safer havens full of willing staff members who will watch over your things when you need to slip away for a potty break.

Don’ neglect the importance of good lighting when writing. While I love the ambience my Himalayan salt lamp provides, more sufficient lighting is employed to ensure I don’t strain my peepers. You may need to switch out bulbs in your home to achieve the right balance of brightness and softness. Don’t forget to take eye breaks if working on a laptop and blink often to lubricate your eyes.

If you prefer natural daylight, keep a pair of sunglasses handy even if you’re working inside and stop when the light becomes too dim. As pleasant as campfires are, they don’t provide consistent, bright light. Exercise caution there.

Keep your favorite foods/snacks close at hand to reduce the times you need to go in search of sustenance. If you choose to write at a restaurant or coffee shop, keep in mind that purchasing food and beverages is kind of expected, and that can become expensive. At home, you have access to food, but don’t fall into grazing instead of writing. I find eating a healthy meal keeps me focused, but I also like to keep a cup of tea nearby to soothe and inspire. Black licorice is my treat during and reward for a productive writing session.

Temperature is another key factor to your writing environment. There’s nothing worse than slogging through a writing session while perspiring or having your fingers cramp from the cold. Working at home puts you in charge of the thermostat while layering your clothes keeps things comfortable when writing out and about.

Again, you’ll probably need to change it up a few times until you settle into your perfect writing zone, so have fun with it. Let me know in the comments where you do our most productive writing.

2 responses

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: