On Space

 IMG_4048My preferred summer writing spot

Have you thought about WHERE you write recently?

As writers, we often obsess over our tools. Getting just the right notebook, just the right pen. Evangelizing over the perfect word processing program that will ensure our New York Times Number 1 Bestseller (I’m looking at you, Scrivener enthusiasts…).

And while tools are important (I myself am on a lifelong quest for the perfect notebook), an often-neglected conversation is where we write.

It’s a question I ask my coaching clients frequently: where do you write? What does your writing space feel like? Is your current set up working for you?

So often we resort to the stereotype of what we THINK a writing set up OUGHT to look like. I spent many wasted hours in the library getting nothing done, in Starbucks coffee shops getting even less done and spending too much money on peach tea, and a hell of a lot of time trying to make my desk at home into my writing space. I was so hung up on what my writing space “should” look like that I never even considered thinking about what I actually wanted.

It turns out, desks and tables really don’t do it for me when I’m writing. In the winter, I curl up on my couch or in bed with a notebook. In the summer, I improvise a couch on my balcony using patio chairs. I like cushions, and tea, and blankets, and zero attachment to my technology. I don’t actually like being surrounded by lots of other people. I like to work alone, most of the time.

What about you? Do you know where you love to write?

If you’ve never really thought about this before – here’s a challenge for you. Spend the next few weeks experimenting with your writing space. Try coffee shops, and libraries, and parks, and desks, and benches, and the couch. Try busy places, and quiet places, and being completely alone. Mix it up. And at the end of each writing session, take a few brief notes dissecting the experience. How did you feel during this writing session? Was the environment inspiring and creatively nourishing? Or did you feel drained? You may need to try some spaces more than once to get a really good feel for whether they work for you or not, or whether there’s a particular time you prefer.

If you decide to take this challenge on, I’d love to hear what you learn. Let me know in the comments.

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