Recently, I’ve been craving particular writing environments. A book shop in Edinburgh, a cute tearoom in a historic village, a bench by the sea…
It’s so easy to think of these places as the perfect writing environment, and sometimes I even find myself thinking I’ll wait to write until I’m there, so that I have the picture-perfect setting for my day of writing. And then I started thinking about the places I am most productive with my work. So, what truly is the perfect writing environment?
Cosy at home?
Perhaps it’s in bed, or curled on the sofa, at home. You can wear your comfiest clothes, cradle endless cups of tea, pull a soft blanket over your knees, and type away in blissful comfort. But then…don’t you find the television looks inviting? Perhaps you could put on a movie, just in the background…and that book you’ve been enjoying is on the bed stand, so you could just read a couple more pages…just for inspiration? And before you know it, you are entirely distracted.
At a desk at home?
At a desk, now that feels more proper, like you’re sitting down to do some work. You’ve got everything you need; notes, coffee, laptop, framed motivational quote, WiFi. It’s all good. Until a little internet research somehow leads to twitter, and you remember the laundry you were supposed to do, and as you walk to the kettle you remember you were supposed to be tidying the kitchen, and there’s housework everywhere! And before you know it, you are entirely distracted.
In a coffee shop?
That’s better. No home distractions. You don’t want to leave your table to ask for the WiFi password, so you’re settled and ready to write. You’ve got a coffee and some sweet snacks to see you through, you’ve nothing else to do but write. Until your eyes drift to the window, and you find yourself watching the people on the street. The girl on the table next to yours sounds like she’s breaking up with her boyfriend, so you can’t help but listen in, and that song in the background, where do you know it from? Who sings it? And before you know it, you are entirely distracted.
Beside a peaceful lake in the forest?
Okay, we’ve got it now. No home distraction, no people, no background noise but for the wind in the trees and birdsong. It’s beautiful and serene, just you and your laptop, and you can write, write, write for the rest of the day. In fact, it’s so stunning you need to take a picture for instagram. Hmm, maybe another, just to make sure. Oh, a bird’s about to fly into view, that’d make the shot even better, I’ll just wait. And before you know it, you’re entirely distracted.
So, the perfect writing environment. Honestly? There isn’t one.
If you’re somewhere, and you’re writing, then it’s perfect, regardless of where you are. Doctor’s waiting room? Bus stop? Lunch break at work? You may not find yourself thinking wistfully about writing in these places, you may not daydream of these moments. But writing as often as you can, making it a habit, is the best way to get ahead with your writing. It’ll make your progress much quicker, and your word counts soar.
Anywhere can be a writing environment
The trick is not to wait until you’re in your ideal environment, as these times may not come available very often. That’s not to say you shouldn’t grab them whenever possible. Writing is a passion, and you should definitely enjoy and savour those days when you’re writing in your ideal environment. The fact is, every writing environment has distractions. You’re a writer, your mind was made to wander and daydream and drift and observe. Don’t let it put you off, but don’t let it hold you back either.
“You’re a writer, your mind was made to wander and daydream and drift and observe.”
Where is your ideal writing environment? And where do you write that isn’t ideal, but necessary? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so do drop them in the comments below.