Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Write Space?

In the past, I’ve babbled a bit about the challenges that come with writing at home when you’re already a work-at-home/telecommuter type, and your “regular job” can encroach not only on your writing time but even where you do that writing. For a time, my home office and main devoted writing space had been taken over by my need for a dedicated workspace when my employer pushed us all out of the cubicle farm at our office building and made us all full-time telecommuters.

By the time I was able to put aside those responsibilities and focus on my writing, I was pretty sick of looking at the walls of my home office. That’s when I started seeking out alternatives: the library, a bookstore cafe, fast food restaurants, and any place else I could set up shop for an hour or two and try to put some words on the page.

Now that I’m no longer working a “real job” and instead am writing full-time, I’ve rediscovered the joys of my home office/sanctuary/man cave/writing refuge. It’s not even a contest so far as this realm being my most productive. The house we bought last year affords me a sizable area not just for the actual writing but also my personal library and other reference materials, and it’s far enough from the house’s main areas and rooms that I can close the door and be completely isolated from everyone and everything when I need to concentrate.

That said, I still have the occasional need to break with the formula now and again, and head off to one of my “emergency writing locations.” As one might imagine, my productivity fluctuates depending on my destination du jour. The library is probably still my best bet, though that can change depending on which day I go. During the week when kids are in school? It definitely works. On weekends or during the school summer break? Yeah, not so much.

Cafes at bookstores or other smaller venues are a crapshoot, because you never know when you’re going to run into a crowd of those “Look at us drinking our coffees and writing our books and stuff!” types. There’s a tavern not too far from my house where I’ve experimented writing in conjunction with lunch that seems to work out, for the most part, because it’s never really that busy in the mid-afternoon. Of course, this option’s not really viable if the kids are out of school.

Interestingly, one place where I didn’t expect to be productive because of the kids is their Taekwondo school. Two nights a week, I take them to their class, which can run from forty-five minutes to an hour. Lately, I've been able to sit on the bleachers, laptop humming along, and I can tap out several hundred words in that space without blinking. It’s the weirdest thing.

Oh, and let’s not forget planes. I can really go to town on a two or three-hour flight. I’ve done some of my best work during plane trips to and from conventions. I’m actually kind of banking on a bit of that success here in about a week or so.

So, what’s your favorite place to write? Where are you most productive with your writing? Are they the same place? Does it have to be the cozy, familiar confines of home, do you have an “auxiliary writing spot,” or are you able to tap a bit into the “guerilla writing” mindset and just go for it anywhere and everywhere?


Charles Gramlich said...

I think once I'm writing I scarcely notice my office around me. And when I pause, well there are all those books.

Liane Spicer said...

I've done the greatest part of my writing in my bedroom. Usually late at night when the household is asleep. I've tried a couple coffee shops but can't seem to get in the groove with all the distractions of people coming and going. I'm just too tense and watchful to blot out my surroundings.

(Missed by seconds a man getting shot in the neck a few feet from my favorite coffee shop once. Found out later the victim was a neighbor who lives 3 houses away. He survived. Same with the little library in my hometown. I'm just way too tense out there in the wilds of suburbia.

G. B. Miller said...

With my commercial debut, my best writing for that revolved around my den. Occasionally I would go to the backyard when I needed to work out a sticky scene.

Nowadays the writing flows by going to my backyard, or anywhere outdoors. I live next door to a mountain (mountain is literally across the street) and I find it to be the proper motivation for my writing.

Jewel Amethyst said...

I write anywhere I can: at the kids soccer games, the park, in my bed, in my parked car while waiting to pick up my kids from school, in my dedicated office space shared with all the kids doing homework (or simply making a mess). But by far my favorite most productive place to write is on the toilet. That's where I concentrate best without the interruptions of, "MOMMeeeeeeeee! My brother/sister is bothering me!" or "Jewel, where is the _____________ (fill in the blank)."

Sunny Frazier said...

I wrote my first book at my office in an undercover narcotics trailer in a nectarine orchard. I didn't have a home computer and so I came in early, stayed late, and wrote when my men went on surveillance for a month in the LA area.

I was never happy with my office in my former house. When I moved into this old house, I set up in the living room. It's bright and I look out the window at my neighborhood. The cats seem to like me there. They often join me on my desk. I think they're editing my work!