Try this if you don’t believe me: Take the laptop to your next dentist appointment and try to get something creative down. Try to produce a beautiful piece of writing with that high-pitched drilling sound piercing your eardrums or the pages of Highlights magazine fluttering in the hands of the five-year-old in the seat next to you. It just won’t happen. So it is my contention that people need their own space in which to write. But how to create such a space?
Well, different people are going to have different preferences when it comes to writing space. For example, before my husband writes he prepares his space. First, he makes a small cup of coffee. He sits at the computer with his notes to the left of the keyboard ( I’ve spoken with many writers that have to have their notes on one specific side of the keyboard. If those notes were placed on the other side, they got nothing accomplished in that writing session). Before he gets down to the business of writing he places the gargoyle ashtray to his right and chooses one of his pipes and some tobacco. Depending on the type of writing he is planning to do (a blog piece or work on his novel) he will either smoke Captain Black Royal or British Woods. Also depending on what he is working on I will hear sounds of Flogging Molly (usually accompanies a short writing piece) or Jethro Tull (most often associated with his working on the novel). This is the space he has created and it works for him.
As for myself, I tend to write at the kitchen table near a large window. The dishes must be done before I can sit down to write, otherwise I just stare at them loathingly and it distracts me from my true purpose. It needs to be fairly dim in my writing space. I don’t like a lot of light when I am trying to write creatively. I always have iced tea at hand and any writing notes I have must also be to the left of my keyboard. Rarely do I use music when I am writing. I prefer quiet.
And it is not unusual to have more than one writing space that works for you. For some reason I tend to get some great results when I write on the computer in my classroom. Mind you it is only during my prep hour that I can focus on writing in the classroom but I think it is because I have “nested” to the point where that room is a total reflection of my personality that I feel comfortable enough to produce creatively in that space.
So this brings a question to my mind: What about those people who do their writing in public places like coffee shops or book stores? There are some that suggest such a space offers more distraction than creative energy flow. To my thinking there is nothing wrong with creating portable writing space. It is like going on a camping trip. You bring all the supplies you will need to have a great experience. Those individuals that choose to write in public places tend to take over a table with their laptop (specifically placed), order their favorite beverage or treat, and arrange their notes or other materials in such a way that they too have created a space in which to write. Hey, if it works for them, why not?
The bottom line is this: Writing is a process and preparing to write can be a process as well. Find the space that works best for you and have at it.