Monday, September 9, 2013

Writing Uprooted?

Where do writers write? Writers can write anywhere, of course. Some even write in the shower. Enough people, in fact, to justify the existence of waterproof notepads. Although I'm not sure there's a developing job market for underwater stenographers (yet), at least one person has (presumably) taken meeting minutes underwater. Maybe "underwater" will someday start popping up on survey results in response to "Where is your favorite place to write?"

For now, however (darnit), the popular answers are typically at the cafĂ©, in the park, or at home. Joe Pawlikowski recommends that the best places to write are hotels and libraries and advises writers to avoid coffee shops, the park, and friends' houses (I had honestly never considered the last option, perhaps because I subconsciously pre-anticipated the looks on their faces upon being presented with the idea).

Writing has always been a remote work job, and now writers who write among us have to compete for their favorite writing spaces with all of the other people freshly liberated from the proximal boundaries of their traditional workspaces by the increasing mobility of technology. For some, this is irrelevant. The additional people, chatter, and busyness all fade into background noise while the words flow. For others (like me), there's an extra difficulty of concentrating that can utterly crush productivity.

"Alright, everyone, now that we've assembled our temporary meeting room, let's begin," he wrote on his whiteboard, immediately followed by "I need to go up for air." And then he was swallowed by a shark.

So when you can't focus at home anymore, where do you go in 2013, when there are people everywhere all the time? When there's nowhere to sit in the library that isn't aurally infringed upon by either painfully loud headphones or a pity-inducing snorer? When every barista in town has decided it's Full-Volume Metallica Monday?

Head out to a practically-secret park in a small, country town? Convert the passenger seat into a desk and take it to an abandoned drive-in theater? Prop your notepad on a dumpster in the alley?

Writers? Where do you write?


  1. I could do with one of those waterproof notepads (even better if it was a waterproof tablet) then I'd be able to write in the bath!

  2. Peter King has written a series of novels on his smartphone on the daily commute. He's not the only one, either. Makes sense! But I prefer to take little 5-day sabbaticals, and write in the summer when business is slow.

  3. I write every day and everywhere. I can tune out the background noise. Much of my writing has been on the bus. I even sleep with a notebook and pen and scribble down ideas in the dark. I love to write at the botanical gardens--a very inspirational place. I never leave home without a notebook and pen~Debbie

  4. When on deadline for my publisher, I write at my desk. I need that discipline. BUT... I drive all over heaven's creation to do research. Libraries, historical societies, cemeteries, court houses... And, I do a lot of "writing" as I'm taking notes at these places because when I learn something interesting I immediately begin planning how it might fit in my book. One of my favorite times to write (if that is an acceptable off-shoot of this conversation) is in the morning before everyone else is awake. Particularly when the windows are open and I can hear the breeze and the birds. I feel like the world is all mine and thoughts just seem to flow.