If you’re having difficulty applying your bum to the chair and sitting still long enough to get the words flowing, the problem might lie in the location of that chair.
Some places lend themselves especially well to productive writing sessions (and no, we’re not talking about Cuba or Paris.) Many writers find that they work better in certain settings than in others. Are you a creature of habit? Easily distracted? Whatever your temperament, there’s an ideal writing place for you, and it might not be the one you’re using now.
Go beyond the kitchen table and try these on for size.
It’s a cliche, but there’s a good reason for that. When you’re sitting alone at a cafe table with your laptop, there’s little to do but get on with your work. This approach may not work for you if you are easily distracted by the activity of others, but many people find the din of a roomful of strangers less distracting than the sound of one lone family member moving around in another part of the house.
Bonus: Caffeine on tap
Remember the public library? It’s not just for students. The quiet rustle of pages turning and gentle clicking of computer keys can be highly conducive to concentration. Consider making the trek downtown: In most cities, the main public library is a grander setting than its neighbourhood branches, lending your writing session an air of seriousness and purpose.
Bonus: Research materials abound.
This one is not for extended daily sessions as it’s really not great for your back. But if you have a busy family life or a day job to juggle, consider writing in the morning from your bed. Once you’re up, it’s hard to tune out the demands of kids and chores, so a regular precious hour or two in your pillowy sanctuary may be just what you need to get the work done. Unless you are an extremely good sleeper, avoid doing this at night, as studies have shown that looking at backlit screens can lead to disturbed sleep, and that’s not good for your health or your creativity.
Bonus: For some people, mental processes are sharpest first thing in the morning.
Some writers work out what they want to say as they write, while others tend to compose passages or even whole chapters in their head and then “transcribe” those thoughts to the page. If you often find yourself stymied by the blank page, or halted in your tracks by an opening sentence that feels wrong, you might be a head-composer. If that’s the case, try taking a walk in the park or another inspiring setting where you can fully explore your concepts and work out the structure of your arguments before sitting down at the computer.
Bonus: Physical movement stimulates creative thinking, as well as giving your body some exercise.
Ok, it’s not technically a location, but a notebook could become your favourite place to put your words down, especially if you are unused to sitting at a computer. If staring at a keyboard makes your brain dry up, consider writing out your thoughts longhand. The act of transcribing and then editing existing material feels quite different from composing it on-screen from scratch.
Bonus: Always available
A special place that you create just for yourself to write in
Even if you have a home office, it may not be the best place to be creative in, especially if you associate it with administrative tasks or other aspects of your job. Experiment with different locations in your home to find a place that’s just for you, whether it means moving a small desk into that nook under the stairs, or putting a special chair under a window that you love to look out of. Some people are stimulated by views, others need to be able to shut a door behind them. Whatever your preferences, designating a zone just for writing can help to jump start your process by ritualizing the activity and signalling to the brain that it is time to work.
Bonus: An altar to your creativity becomes more powerful every time you use it.
What are your favourite places to write? Let me know by sharing a comment below. Happy writing!
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