Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Where do you do your writing?

I try to write at work sometimes, but it just doesn't work out. I need to write in the area I have created for myself at home. Non-writers don't always understand how this works.

"Why don't you just write at work?" they ask. "You know, when things are slow…"

Well, things are seldom slow, I need peace and quiet, I like my own keyboard, and where's my drink? Oh, and I don't like to be interrupted, especially by email, the phone or my boss.

And I don't want it to bite me, either, somewhere down the line when someone throws it up snottily with a, "Well, we were working, but Kate, you know, was writing." It's pretty much right up there with conducting your own home porn business from work - even though everyone is secretly interested and almost all of them think they could do it.

So I write at home. I have a nifty little setup in a spare bedroom with a desk and a nice chair and enough space for the computer, a drink and a snack. No one bothers me in there, either.

My space will become even niftier when I get the garage remodel done and move my "office" out there where I can construct a mammoth desk and have immediate access to the outdoors, a small refrigerator and the laundry area. I get ideas while doing the laundry, okay? Nothing like dirty clothes to get the brain working…

But we are not all the same. I have seen other writers on the go: at Starbuck's or the local coffee shop, at the Library, the park and the Mall. I have seen them sitting in their cars, laptops balanced between bites of some kind of fast food, or typing away waiting to pick up their kids.

So, tell me. Where do you write? And what would your dream writing space be? And would it include the sweet, gentle sound of the dryer?


The flight of the big and little birds. I saw three herons in flight this morning. Yesterday I watched the Hummingbird Wars at the new feeders.

Tiny flowers creeping through the garden, most of them deliberately planted, but a few interesting volunteers.

A cocktail party at my friend Linda Garner's beautiful mid-century house. Exquisite house, fun guests, lots of great food and drinks!


Sonnjea B said...

Not that I've been writing much lately, but I can't have the distractions of a coffee house, or work, or even the radio. I like quiet. And I need to stare out a window.

Oh, and I get ideas when I'm ironing the laundry.

bunnygirl said...

A window is nice but not necessary. What I absolutely positively must have is quiet and the certainty that I won't be bothered. I need to be able to completely immerse myself in my writing, and I can't do that if someone's moving around in the next room or there's activity going on outside my window.

I do most of my writing after my husband is in bed. I like the quiet stillness of late hours. I can edit almost anywhere, though. So if you ever see me at a Starbuck's with my laptop, you can be sure I'm editing, not creating!

Zany Mom said...

Have laptop, will write. Usually at home, currently deskless, so laptop sits, well duh, on my lap. ;) I also write in my RV wherever I happen to park it. I can also write in hotel rooms if need be.

I do need relative quiet so I can think, but I also do write at work (I own the place, so... ;)) but that's only if I have time and if there's something burning in my brain that needs to get out.

I can't write in public places or where I'm not physically comfortable. Oh, and I need my diet Pepsi.

Angie said...

I can write just about anywhere, but I prefer to be right here, up in the computer room. Talk or anything related to it (like music with vocals or the TV) is distracting, but then it always is; I don't like having a TV or radio on at any time unless I'm actively watching/listening.

My ideal set-up has at least a couple of bookcases within arm's reach of my keyboard, so I can have all my reference books and most of my nonfiction books right there in case I need to look something up. Although I'll grant that was more important in the pre-web days, when we didn't have Google available. [wry smile] Right now I have a few books piled on my desk (which is actually a plain eight-foot office table) along with about twenty computer games and associated notes and stuff, calendar, water glass, phone (cordless but not cellular -- I've never owned a cell phone and don't particularly want one), note cards (people's birthdays, various passwords), a calculator, a stapler, a postal scale (relic of a bygone era when I still mailed out manuscripts) and a stack of plastic stackable office sorter-thingies, one of which has my shiny new story contract (yay) or at least the yellow copy. :) Underneath is a small space heater (vital in winter) and in front of the closet is a floor fan (vital in summer and currently running).

I prefer my desktop set-up but I have a laptop and use it when I travel. I've written in airports although there's not really enough room in an airplane seat to write on the plane itself. I have a big Dell Inspiron because I hate tiny keyboards and the computer would be jammed uncomfortably between the seat in front of my and my fat middle. :/

I was at a writing retreat in August and did several thousand words on my laptop at a kitchen table with five other writers chatting, writing and editing around me. I wouldn't have thought I could get all that much done with so many distractions around, but knowing that there were people I sorta knew from online who'd think I was a doof if I just sat there doing nothing spurred me on to be more productive than I'd been in a long time, LOL!

And during NaNo this year, I'd like to get to at least one of the local write-ins and see how it goes in a coffee shop. I wanted to go last year but never quite made it.

I'm not the sort of person who'll just pack up to a coffee shop or a park or wherever to write, though. If I can be at home in familiar surroundings, that's what I prefer.

Although that's never included the sound of the drier. :)


December/Stacia said...

I write on the couch in the living room, with my laptop in my lap on its little lap desk. (How many times in one sentence can I say "lap"?)

We have a desktop upstairs in the library; I write on it sometimes but prefer the laptop--and generall need the laptop because the little one fusses if I leave her alone downstairs.

Kate Thornton said...

Sonnjea b - I like the staring out a window idea!

Bunnygirl - quiet and the certainty that I won't be botherted are the two things that completely nix the idea of writing at work.

Zany Mom - I can picture you in that RV tapping away! But Diet Pepsi gives me the heebie jeebies!

Angie - the fact that you did about 500 words *here* proves you can write anywhere! But home in familiar surroundings seems to be what many of us crave.

Stacia - I love it that the laptop is such a handy and portable way to write - you can always keep an eye on the kiddle and still get a few words in on the WIP. Now that's progress!

Usiku (oo-SEE-koo) said...

We are genetically different when it comes to writing space. I write whenever and wherever I can find a moment. If my head is about to explode at work, it's a quick note to stuff in my pocket. I write in my sleep. No kidding. I do write when I'm trying to do other things that need to be done, but I go with it because there are periods of replenishing where nothing comes out, therefore experiences must go in especially those things we enjoy which one of those things for me is meeting people who like themselves.

Shauna Magill said...

I write everywhere. If I don't write the idea down as it comes to me, I'm bound to lose it. So I have a notebook and pen in the car, one by my bed and one in easy reach of the kitchen and living room.

My laptop wanders around with me all day, from the office to the living room to the car and everywhere. It is one thing that I MUST have if I'm going to write anything more than a page or two. I have to have my computer with my internet set-up and bookmarks and add-ons, even if I'm not going to use them.

Interesting topic!

Angie said...

Kate -- LOL! Turning on the babble online has never been a problem for me. Fiction is harder, although when it starts flowing I can get sucked in for hours. :)

Shauna -- completely off topic, I just had to mention that my little brother's name is Sean Magill. :) I've never met another Magill outside of his dad's family, and the coincidence of first names is cool. [wave]


Bernita said...

I too have a converted bedroom as an office, with bookshelves on my right for frequently-consulted reference books.
My back is to the double windows where the little birds talk and twitter among the ecroaching creeper.
I write down ideas when out-and-about, but I need this quiet place for sustained narrative.

Kate Thornton said...

Usiku - wow, if I could write in my sleep, I could get a lot more done around the house!

Shauna - I love the idea that you can write down your ideas immediately!

Angie - maybe you & Shauna are related. My handyman has the same last name as me and we might actually share a common ancestor in the mid-1800s. It's a small world! (uh-oh, now I've got tha song in my head)

Kate Thornton said...

Bernita - nothing beats a beautiful place to write - unless it's a warm and dry place to sleep.

We used to say "Never pass up a hot meal or indoor plumbing!" in the Army - I would now add - or a beautiful place.

Shauna Magill said...

Angie: That's crazy! I had never met a "Magill" until I married my husband and realized it was fairly unique, but at least people would be able to pronounce it (unlike my maiden name). It would be interesting if we were related in some way, wouldn't it?

Angie said...

Shauna -- well, you're a Magill by marriage and my brother's father was my stepdad, but it'd be funny if your husband and my brother were related. :D His father and grandfather on that side were both "George Reader Magill" if that helps.


writtenwyrdd said...

LOL! I know what you mean! I have a deadly slow job, most days, and yet I generally cannot make myself write at work. For example, yesterday. The guy I'm working with wants to talk. Everytime I get a thought, I get talked at. doesn't matter if I'm blogging, writing or reading a book-- I'm not able to focus with someone sitting six feet away talking at me!

lorna said...

Hi Kate,

Writing need= coffee. Sometimes it is solitude, but when it has been too much I need a cafe and a bit of humanity.

On a side note. I just wanted to let you know that I am moving my blog address from lornaperez.blogspot.com, to stillrambling.blogspot.com