author, creative writing, writing

The Perfect Writing Environment

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.”


I write wherever and whenever I can. Ideally, I like to go out to write, I like to write in coffee shops, libraries and train stations. I get distracted, but I also get stuff done. And that’s okay.

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.

Until then,
Keep writing,
M
x

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31 thoughts on “The Perfect Writing Environment”

  1. I love this! I think we’re all guilty of this – waiting for the right time and the right place. I find different places suit my different types of writing. I write poetry outside, short stories in bed and my WIP at my desk. I find it so distracting to work anywhere with noise. Coffee shops are a nightmare for me! I only really read if I’m somewhere noisy. 😊 brilliant post as per usual! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m afraid I do my best writing between laundry and cooking. When my hands are working, my mind is on full speed. What’s next? Do I need another character to get to that plot I want? I have my phone or iPad with me and will stop whatever I do and scribble down my writing. Later I will sit at my desk and transfer. I wrote a short story during a break at the beach sitting in the sand watching the waves, while having coffee at a cafe, on the train in a two hour journey. It’s the housework, walking or traveling that opens my mind, because I think that’s the main factor here: what makes your writing juices flow. Scheduling (desk) time doesn’t work for me!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahh I love this comment. Thank you for sharing your writing environments! I can completely understand how sitting down a desk can be too rigid and structured for some people. Your creative mind flourished throughout your day to day, and that’s amazing ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I definitely do the majority of my writing at home, where I often swap between my desk and the couch depending on where I feel most productive at the time. Mind you, over the years I have managed to get a fair amount of writing done in coffee shops while at uni!! Let’s just pretend I was studying haha… 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My best writing environment: in my study at home. Second-best: in a house in rural France, with no TV, no social commitments, no friends dropping in, plenty of coffee, tea and lovely pastries from the patisserie down the road.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. M, thanks for the tips. I keep notepads and pencils in various drawers in case I get an idea from a TV or newspaper. Since I am driver for my sister to doctor appointments, I find myself scribbling notes on a torn sheet or typing an email to save with a sketch or intro. At my age, I need to record the thought or it might go away. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

  6. For someone who only ever writes on my desktop computer, it’s an interesting look into all the possibilities. In my case, I guess it’s the need for a good keyboard and the fact I was never fond of carrying a laptop around even when I had one.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I enjoyed the structure of this post. These places SEEM great, but they might not be all they are cranked out to be. Why? Because you have to be in the proper mindset for it to work.

    Whenever I go on vacation, I think I will write SO MUCH. 99% of the time it does not happen, because I want to experience the new place fully, instead of “wasting” my time on sitting in one spot and writing. Or I’m spending time with people…

    Sure, there are better and worse places, depending on what you prefer. Cafes are not the place for me. I like quiet and solitude when I write. At least when I create the first draft. Most of the time, it is at my desk. But while some days I write when intended, other times I do everything but write.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Stopping to take a picture for Instagram is exactly what I get distracted by when I sit at my desk to write 🤣. Great post, M! And so true. Every place can be a writing desk, every place can be a distraction, you just need to settle in and do the work despite the distractions.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I really needed this reminder today. 💛 I often find myself frustrated that I’m writing on my couch in my parents house instead of on a beach somewhere lol. But it doesn’t really matter where I am, it just matters that I’m writing! Also, your description of someone getting distracted in a coffee shop is 100% me when I tried to write in Starbucks on campus. It’s such good people watching!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I remember back in college it was the third floor of the library. It’s what they called the stock room. Nothing of value was there. It was used as a giant space to put stuff.

    There were old chairs in the back and an old worn out desk. I always parked them near a window where I could see a giant row of trees. I felt hidden and safe.

    There was something about it. I feeling, I guess, that didn’t come around enough. I never told my friends about it. This was my place. Sometimes we are lucky to find places like this.

    So much of it is the feeling these places give us.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I loved this post, it’s so accurate. It doesn’t matter where we write, the important part is that we actually do what we’re meant to do – write!
    Unfortunately, we’re human and sometimes we’re easily distracted. 😅😘

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This was a good post! I find that I need quiet to write, which is sometimes hard with a toddler. If I can’t immerse myself, I have a difficult time finding the right words, getting into the flow, and keeping myself in my chair. I tried outside…too many beautiful distractions!

    K. L. Reeder

    Liked by 2 people

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