Where Do You Write?

 

where-do-you-write-sig

 

I may get an opportunity to have a few hours to myself each week.

Time to myself, people! Every. Week.

I’m ecstatic.

Because I’m going to use this time to write.

Here’s the catch. (You knew there was a catch, right?)

If I do the whole “drop-off, drive home, drive back, pick-up” thing, I’ll lose an hour.

So, I need to stay put. I need to be out of my house while I’m writing. I’ve never done this. Correction. I’ve never successfully done this.

I’ve tried coffee shops, tea shops, shoe shops, sweet shops. (No, really, not a sweet shop. In those, I just annoy my kids with how I used to buy Raisinets and Nerds in regular sized packages not the sugar-rush, vomit-inducing size they sell now.)

I don’t understand how people can write in coffee shops or whatnot. I can barely write my name never mind a scene or chapter in those places.

I’m so distracted by the noise and commotion, I can’t concentrate long enough to read the sugar packet I just dumped in my coffee.

I could use some advice. Or an alternative. I’m open to anything. Mostly. Let’s not get crazy.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Can you write outside your house? Where do you go? How do you concentrate? Do you have any other ideas? I’m willing to sit in my car if need be.

 

 

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76 thoughts on “Where Do You Write?

    • I’ve sat in the car before and I think I might wind up doing that again. It’s quiet and comfortable and there are few to no distractions. Of course, you’re right about the cold. I can’t have the heat blasting for hours. I could wear a snowsuit or something. Though I’ll call it a “writing suit”. 😉 Thanks!

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  1. I love writing in coffee shops and anywhere that isn’t home because I get so distracted AT home, there’s always chores to do.

    Best advice I can give, is to take headphones and play lyricless music. Failing that, I also play thunderstorms and rain to drown out the sound. Big fat cup of coffee and I a deadline I’m desperate to meet usually makes me pretty determined to write. It takes a bit of training, was hard at first, but like anything, practice makes perfect. Plus, if it’s regular pick ups and drop offs, then it’s likely u will be in the same coffee shops, so there will be a period of newness that will wear off then the coffee shop isn’t so interesting to look at

    Hope that helps

    Liked by 2 people

    • I completely understand the inability to write at home. Even though it’s really the only place I CAN write, it often sets my teeth on edge and I wind up on Twitter or something because I can’t concentrate with all the family stuff/noise/things-that-need-my-attention going on.

      I have a lot of music like that. I’ll try it. Honestly, I can’t write with music, either, unless it’s specific characters. That’s another story…

      So true about the coffee shop being the same one and how that might make it easier, after a bit, to write as I’ll get used to it. Thanks! ❤

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  2. Ah well see I can
    Write that is. Surrounded by raging nutters and over familiar baristas with their redundant intimacy. I can sleep at sports games standing up too. I think I’m a new subset of hominid. Homo Bloodyodddblokecus or something. No help I’m afraid

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmm. I think you might possibly be a new subset. Are there others you know who can write while surrounded by raging nutters? That I cannot do. Never could. They’re great for people-watching but not concentrating. Now I know one of your secrets for being such a prolific writer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think working open plan while trying to read and analyse complicated contracts taught me to shut out everything except conversations that involved going for coffee, free chocolate and unexpected sex.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m first! Woohoo! Sarah, this is a dilemma. Coffee shops and other busy places can be distracting, unless you are able to switch off the noise and concentrate on your work. Sometimes I can find that easy to do. I get very engrossed in what I am doing and all externals disappear. But if I’m struggling to concentrate, I’m (too) easily distracted.
    If you could find a coffee shop, or bar that is not so popular or busy, and plonk yourself down in a quiet corner, that might work.
    What about a table in a library? I tried that when I was in London. It was great. I was able to plug in my laptop and use their free wi-fi. (I did get distracted by story time for the preschoolers though! :))
    Or how about a park? You could walk around the park to enjoy nature, get your exercises, and think, compose, rehearse, talk out loud to yourself, tell your story to the trees . . . Then find a nice shady spot to jot down your thoughts.
    I’m sure you have already thought of these. They are not very original, but I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to consider them for myself. Thanks, and good luck in finding a solution!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ooh… I wish I could make all the external stuff disappear. I’ll look around for a relatively quiet coffee shop and see if that works. The library seems to be a popular idea. But, yes, I LOVE parks, nature, and old cemeteries. I’ve always loved writing there (and love telling my story to the trees…I’ve been known to do that), but as the weather gets colder (and rainy/snowy) it will prove difficult. Thanks for the help, Norah. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s tricky – largely b/c so much depends on how you respond to various dynamics going on around you.

    Early morning at home is ideal for me, before anyone else wakes up – but it sounds like that’s not how the universe is setting this up for you. I’m assuming staying at ‘work’ – if you have a traditional workplace, which you may not, this being the 21st century and all and you being a writer-type – is not an option, or you wouldn’t be asking.

    Are local libraries too obvious? If you can tune out the people-watching, funny little tables and desks can have a very ‘time to seriously write’ mojo about them.

    When I’m trying to read (not quite the same, I realize), I sometimes like to find lobbies or waiting rooms – anywhere with enough traffic that I won’t stand out, but not so much that it’s hectic. These tend to be very situationally specific – close to wherever I happen to be.

    I know at least one blogger who sits in her car at the edge of the parking lot, laptop on her lap (who knew that worked?) and types away. Seems to work for her – but not sure I could do it that way.

    Damn. Now I’m curious what you decide. I also suddenly want a pastry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I just love this whole comment. Really. It’s hilarious and magical.

      Anyway… Yes. Exactly. “so much depends on how you respond to various dynamics going on around you.” I’m not sure people take this into consideration when telling you to write at your local coffee shop because it is awesome. And, no, the universe has for sure not set my life up that way.

      Ha! No, libraries aren’t too obvious though would have won a poll if I’d had one. I can’t (yet) tune out people. But I will attempt it. Reading is similar, and I can’t read well in public, either. People-watching is way too tempting.

      I’ve sat in my car many times and will likely do that again. Soon. Maybe always. Maybe for this situation. With a laptop in my lap. 😉 Thanks. Now I want a pastry, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, gosh. I can’t even imagine writing anywhere but at my desk, in my library/computer room. I have it all set up with inspiration boards full of photos of places and people from my stories. As soon as I sit down, I’m in Writer Mode.

    But, what if that weren’t an option? Now you have me asking myself what I’d do. Like you, I’m pretty darn sure I couldn’t write in a coffee house or anywhere there are so many distractions. I’m a people watcher, and that’s where my mind would go.

    I could probably write in the privacy of my car, except that I live in Florida, and even in the winter, it’s usually too hot in a parked vehicle. Running the a/c while parked isn’t a good idea for long stretches of time, either, since it can cause the car to overheat.

    My best bet would probably be a park nearby, where I was mostly surrounded by nature. A shady bench, perhaps, on a quiet trail. It COULD work . . . if I didn’t get distracted birdwatching, or the like. Nature can be pretty compelling, after all, which is why I include a lot of it in my books.

    I’ll be interested in seeing what your followers think. And I’m reblogging this with mine, to get a few ideas from them, perhaps. Good luck on figuring out the best way to handle this gift of time. No one wants to squander that! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah. So nice. Everything set up so you can get right into “Writer Mode”.

      I get distracted and can’t concentrate but, yes, the people-watching is so tempting. I’ve never been able to fight that urge. I’ve also written in my car and been productive but, agreed, running the heat/AC for hours is not a good idea. I love nature – getting out in nature, reading in nature, writing in nature. I’m beginning to think it’s not distractions but people that I can’t be around. 😉

      Thank you so much for sharing this. Much appreciated. Hope to get lots of ideas!

      Liked by 1 person

    • If I don’t want any distractions, I like to write in the library. If I’m lucky I can even find an empty carroll by the window. The library is quiet, I silence my phone, and I turn off my e-mail so I don’t get those annoying pop–ups when I get a message. Somehow I’m able to block out movements of people and really concentrate.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I always silence my phone and turn off notifications. I find it extremely difficult to ignore those so don’t even bother with them. Interesting you mention “movements of people”. Not only do I have an issue with the noise, it’s also people moving around that distract me. Hmm. Interesting.

        Library… Seems to be the answer here. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The library I think is the best place if you are in transit and want to maximise your precious time. Find the reference section and work there. Being surrounded by others who are really focused on their work, helps you to focus too. Being surrounded by people eating cake every few minutes in a coffee shop is the undoing of me! Far too distracting. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The library is definitely the first thing that popped into mind for me. Sometimes, that can be problematic, because I know I’m distracted by books, but, on the same token, being around a lot of books inspires me to hurry up and get more of my books taken care of so I might one day join those already on the shelf.

    Situations like these make me glad I’m mostly a notebook writer, because notebooks have the benefit of being light and portable and easy to use outside on a nature hike or something like that. I’m a huge fan of being inspired by the great outdoors, so I’ll bring a notebook and a pen, find a good spot to settle, and can pump out some really good pages that way.

    Overall, though, I think that if the other options (shops of a wide variety, libraries, parks, etc) just aren’t doing it for you, then don’t worry about the wasted hour in driving. If home is where you write best, then you will cultivate more in just one hour there than you would trying to struggle through two unproductive hours anywhere else.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah. Library as distracting AND inspiring. I like it. 🙂

      Yes! The notebook in the great outdoors. I love that. It’s a fantastic way to write and I’ve accomplished a lot writing in nature (but not for long periods of time and it’s weather-dependent).

      Your last paragraph is sheer brilliance and not something I gave much thought to. If I get an hour of solid writing in, that beats two hours of getting frustrated with distractions and my lack of writing. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I do write outside of home and quite often. I like different environments and do write in most any place. The secret? Headphones. I’ve used headphones a large portion of my life and it always helps me to focus and get in the mood. But I’ve done many crazy things just to get my write on. IN my last full time job, I was the only man in the team….. so yes, I did go to the boy’s room to write. But my novels? Most of them were written during lunch hours and being stubborn about it and working faster to have time at work to work on my stuff. Pretty much get the job work out of the way so I could focus on the REAL work. :”D But yeah, headphones and stubbornness 😀

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  9. I usually get to work 40 minutes before everyone else so I sometimes write there. I don’t open my email or anything, just the story I’m working on. Other times I just put headphones on and try to ignore the TV if I’m at home. I try writing in coffee shops but I get distracted by the coffee!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm. I’m one of those annoying people who is always late. If I do happen to get somewhere early, I find I can’t even read never mind write. What a fab set-up you’ve got there. One thing you (and JD and Sacha) mentioned are headphones. I haven’t tried them yet but plan to this week at home. Just to see… Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. There is a relatively unknown park near my office where I go to clear my head. I always think it is the perfect place to write. No one is around. No music playing. I go there and power the laptop up. Then a bug lands on me. Swat. Darn what was I thinking again. Oh right. Then I hear a branch snap. What was that? Is someone here with me? No. Squirrel. Hmm. Right. Back to writing. What was that thought again? Hmm can’t think in this heat. Maybe I’ll try the library next.

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  11. I can see the extroverts and introverts lining up at the coffee shop in favor of writing or too distracted. However, I found one of my biggest problems writing out was familiarity. There’s a familiar kinestetic way I set up my desk that allows me to block out distractions and write. A dark hole at the tiny Carnegie library in Wallace was more suitable than the snooty silent spaces at the modern and swanky library in CDA. I hated my trailer until Todd remodeled the back end to be set up in my familiar L-shape desk configuration. Now I don’t even want a home anymore because I have comfortable space in my trailer! Something you might consider is shared office space for writers. Take a look at https://www.sharedesk.net/ or inquire at your local Chamber of Commerce for shared office rentals.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow. Ok. Yes, I am too easily distracted and I people-watch but so much yes with the familiarity piece. That is a big thing. (P.S. I love your new desk.) 💙

      I have never heard of Sharedesk. That is so cool. I will totally look into that. Thank you!

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  12. I actually had to work in coffee shops or other places when I was rooming with other people; even when they were trying to be respectful of my privacy, there was something about the energy of people trying to relax when I was trying to work that was distracting. Coffee shops – particularly those where a lot of computers were open – were great places for me. Other people were around concentrating on something. That was energy I could use. I used headphones and noise cancelling websites like this one: mynoise.net Even at my office, there are often teenagers in the conference room next door doing creative arts therapy, and voicing their anxiety by pretending to be coyotes, or conversations in front of my (closed) door that are more interesting than the grant I am working on. Headphones are awesome.

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    • Haha! “there was something about the energy of people trying to relax when I was trying to work that was distracting.” I know that feeling from home. The kids are trying so hard to be quiet (love them) that’s it’s almost tangible. And super distracting. 😜 Though teenagers voicing their anxiety as coyotes sounds like torture.

      I can’t believe I’ve never seen those sites! I’m excited to check those out. Thank you so much.

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  13. I don’t think I could write in a coffee shop either – probably why I’ve never tried 🙂 I would choose a library instead – lots of quiet, plenty of tables and books, books, everywhere!
    At home I have a tiny room which is supposed to be a bedroom but really wouldn’t fit anyone who is larger than hobbit sized. So it has a bookshelf and a desk and a view towards the sunset – that’s where I write (and where I am now).
    Good luck with finding a space that suits you! 🙂

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  14. It’s easy for me to write just about anywhere. Once I start writing, I tune everything else out. Lately, I’ve been going to the library to write because of the quietness. It feels like home in some ways. Plus, I like to peruse the library to see if there are any books I want to borrow from them.

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    • I so wish I could tune everything out. It seems a lot of writers are able to do that. It’s not that I’m not engaged in reading/writing/whatever-I’m-doing, it’s just that I am so very easily distracted that I can’t concentrate for longer than… I can’t concentrate at all. 😉

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      • That’s understandable. There are days that I find it hard to concentrate on anything writing-related. The issue that comes up is when I’m focused on too many things. I work myself into a frenzy on all that I need to do for the day, week, month, whatever. Next thing I know, I’m completely frazzled, unable to focus on what I want to do.

        What helps me, though, is taking a step back, realize when I’m in that mode. I try to talk myself out of it, focus on something positive. I’ll write it out, too. The act of writing out what boggles me calms me. If it’s on paper, my mind is clear. I can focus on something else, like writing.

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  15. I’d opt for car and sit in the back seat. It’s close enough to keep the commute time down and sitting in the back seat helps break from the usual mental obligations associated with driving. I’ve been known to write in coffee shops and restaurants, but it’s hard for me to keep my focus and not get distracted with the sounds going on around me.

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    • I’ve sat in the car numerous times. It works as there are no people around but, Loni, you’re brilliant. The “mental obligations” associated with driving are still there. They are! I hadn’t thought of that. Subconsciously, I’m still in that mode. I’m going to sit in the back. Thank you! 🙂

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  16. I’m like you, Sarah. Need it to be relatively peaceful around me. I’m distracted enough by FB, Twitter and blogs when I’m on my own, let alone in a place with people all around. I’d be too busy people watching and using the conversations I hear or physical exchanges as sparks for scenes and stories.
    It looks as if others have suggested it, but I’d probably go with the car. Indeed, I have done on a few occasions. Either the front passenger seat or the back seat (just don’t leave the child locks on – there isn’t much less dignified than trying to climb through to the front of a car when you’re a full grown adult). Even then, there can be distractions, so if you’re able to park up (safely) in a quiet country park or something that’ll help.
    Then set yourself a target word count for the time you have available and that’ll help you focus.
    Good luck with whatever you try!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I’ve never been able to write in coffee shops as I’m too busy people watching and getting my fingers sticky with a cream bun! I do, however, sit in the car and write while my son is at football training – it’s my Tuesday night write-a-thon. I have to remember to park under the street light during the winter months otherwise I’d have to invest in a head torch, but other than that it works for me. The peace and quiet for an hour is perfect. I’m always amazed how much I get done. Most of it is writing up scenes, or character bios, but writing is writing! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yup. Writing is writing. I often do get something done sitting in the car. But it depends how long I have to sit there because it can get a bit cramped and, like you said, it’s often more bios or sketches (or social media and blogging stuff) than my WIP but…writing is writing. Also, so much yes on the people-watching.

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  18. So, I’m in a coffee shop right now. But as usual, doing this and that, instead of actually writing!

    It’s just too darn distracting, and usually way too noisy to get anything productive done.
    Also, there’s the issue of spending money constantly on coffee and snacks which I don’t need, and can’t afford! But if you’re there, you feel compelled to buy something!

    Libraries are best. It’s quiet, and other people are working too! Can get into the zone that way!

    Impossible to work at home, especially when my roommate is watching TV with the sound cranked up!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It seems you have very few places conducive to concentrating or writing. That’s awful. Hope you are surrounded by lots of libraries. 🙂 I think, if I were in a coffee shop, the best I could hope for is what you’re doing – social media, blog comments, etc. No actual working.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. I find it hard to write in coffee shops because I love to people-watch. Also, I usually end up next to people who are having a really interesting conversation, and I end up concentrating on not looking like I’m eavesdropping, when I really am.

    I hope you’re able to find a good location to write because writing time is important, doggone it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • In Ocean’s Eleven (the remake, sorry) when Frank Catton is “concentrating” on his crossword but really writing down the conversation he’s eavesdropping on? Yeah. That. I’m with you sister. I’m so with you.

      I’ll find a solution. Because writing time is doggone important. It’s no laughing matter! 😀

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  20. My first thought was library, but sometimes it is too quiet for me. Believe it or not, a timer sometimes helps. I set my timer with purpose and (unless there is blood involved) know there is no greater chore than that. You may also set up a special place or ritual, something that says…..for this 30 minutes or 2 hours you can do nothing else. All chores must wait. Even if you sit there the entire 30 minutes blank. Nothing else should disrupt. It takes practice, indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! I love this. “unless there is blood involved” there’s nothing stopping me from writing! A timer has never worked for me and I have tried it but I guess I could try it again. But I do hate the thought of a wasted half hour. I rarely have a half hour so I would rather get something done even if it’s not the project I want to work on. I’ll give it a go, just in case. Thanks, Bobbi. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I write at home, but find it pretty easy to write anywhere (unless I’m writing a sad scene and sobbing all over my laptop). Ha ha. Coffee shops work for me – especially these days since so many people are there with laptops – it seems normal. Good luck finding your spot! Happy Writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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