What Are the Best Places to Write? 15 Tips to Create the Perfect Writing Space

I admit it. I drool over Pinterest pictures of dreamy libraries and studies. Sometimes I google “writer’s offices” for inspiration about the best places to write, in search of that perfect writing space that will magnetize me to my desk and make me want to stay curled up with my work-in-progress for endless hours of storytelling.

Of course, it doesn’t really work that way. Even though I’m a neatnik sort of person who enjoys interior decorating, my office experiences never quite look like the Pinterest version. There’s dust, there’s crumbs. Even worse, there are distractions. There’s, you know, the Internet. And no matter where I write or how I design my writing space, there’s always the reality that writing isn’t actually all that glamorous.

But that’s good news, actually. The very fact that writing does not require a high-maintenance setting means we can, in fact, do it anywhere. As nice as a study lined with bookcases of leather-bound first editions might be, or a little desk on a porch overlooking a beach—these aren’t necessarily the best places to write for most of us. After all, the best place to write is any place we actually do write.

So how can you optimize your writing space to help you get in the zone and stay in the zone? Colleen F. Janik brought this up recently:

I would love to hear a discussion of what the perfect writing area looks like, one that draws you there every single day. I have an office with a desk near the window, which I thought was perfect. But it’s not. I’ve made a very crafty, pretty memo board to put all my notes. That didn’t do it. I collected some great black and white World War I photos and had them framed and matted and put on my wall. That was good for a while.

I guess what it comes down to is that my characters become strangers to me and I am barred from entering the land where they dwell. How can I maintain that close relationship with these humans I so lovingly created?

Now, first of all, I’ll admit we can sometimes blame our external settings for writing blocks that are the result of other problems—whether personal issues like exhaustion or burnout, lack of motivation, or just good old plot block. But certainly our space can play a role.

Because I’ve experimented quite a bit with different writing spaces over the years, this topic immediately tickled my fancy. Today, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in optimizing my own space.

TLDR: Honestly, my single biggest takeaway is going to be that what’s best on one day may not be best on the next day. Although it’s nice to have a dedicated writing space set up just how you like it, using your imagination to create flexible options might be the best solution.

5 Ingredients to Create Your Optimal Writing Space

Some writers can write anywhere. Some are particular. Some prefer silence. Others prefer background noise. There is no one perfect formula that suits all of us. But there are some common factors we can each consider in tweaking our available spaces to support us in our writing goals. Here are my top five.

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1. Optimal Lighting

Lighting is a powerhouse contributor to ambiance and mood. Consider whether you feel more inspired on bright, sunny days or gray, rainy days. Although you can’t do anything about the weather, you can recreate lighting patterns within your space by choosing bulb wattage and tone (warm or cool) to help you get into the right mood.

You need to be able to see what you’re doing and to protect your eye health. (At the same time, you might consider blue-light glasses or a blue-light filter for your computer to help with the glare.) The right desk lamp can make a huge difference in controlling writing spaces that otherwise offer limited options for change. Even just adding candles (preferably soy or beeswax to avoid air pollutants) can raise the vibe of your room and signal to your brain that it is now entering “writing space.”

If you can, you’ll also want to consider your proximity to a window. For a while, I had a desk that faced a gallery of windows. On the one hand, I loved it. But aside from the distracting squirrel that liked to dive-bomb off the roof, I also dealt with major glare for a few months in the early winter when the sun hit the windows just the wrong way. Depending on the orientation of the room, putting a window at your back can also be problematic, since the sun may then glare directly off your computer screen.

Lighting is crucial for creating the best places to write, but facing your desk to a window offers pros and cons to consider.

2. Privacy

Desired degree of privacy is subjective. Some writers do their best work in crowded spaces, such as trains or restaurants. But if you get distracted easily or lose your train of thought when interrupted, you’ll probably do best in a closed-door environment where you can filter out visitors—or at least slow them down.

3. Visual and Auditory Control

Being able to control noise—both visual and auditory—can be important. Some writers prefer silence; some prefer music; some like the TV on in the background; some like people talking around them. Whatever the case, you want to be able to “turn it on” when you’re ready to write. Music has always been key for me. My brain is so used to hearing certain types of music when writing that I have a hard time dropping in without it.

Visual noise can also be important. Some writers thrive in cluttered spaces; others prefer clean minimalism. Either way, you’re looking for efficacy, not aesthetics. Although a Pinterest-worthy office can be gratifying, if it interferes with grounding in and writing, then it’s not worth it.

4. Comfort and Ergonomics

By the same token, value comfort over style. Make sure your desk, your chair, and your computer are the right size for your body and ergonomically placed. If your writing space looks great, but you hurt when you spend time there, you’ll end up writing in the living room or the kitchen instead—or, worse, not writing at all.

5. Availability of Tools and Resources

Finally, you’ll want a space that keeps all your most-used tools and resources at your fingertips. This might mean bookshelves or files. But it can also mean having all your files available on your computer or in the cloud, so you can access them easily without having to break your train of thought.

Set your writing space, so you have what you need within easy reach.

5 Ideas for Awesome Alternative Writing Spaces

The above ideas cover the standard writing space, the sort that usually comes to mind when we think of a writer’s office. But what if the “standard writing space” just isn’t working for you? What if, like Colleen (and me, on many an occasion), you show up at your optimized desk—and you just can’t settle in?

As much as I love a functional office, the following five alternative ideas are actually some of my favorite places to write. For me, they’re not feasible or even preferable all the time, but whenever they’re right, they’re right. I’ve done some of my best writing by leaving behind my designated writing space.

1. Writing Outside

This is my all-time fave. When the weather isn’t too cold or too muggy, I like to take my writing into the wild. I’ll set up a little bistro tale outside, maybe on my front porch or maybe in a little nook in some trees, put my coffee in an insulated mug, and head out. I’ve written outside as late as November (with the help of gloves and a down vest), until my fingers got too cold to hold the pen.

One of the best places to write is… outside! I take my iPad with Scrivener notes, insulated coffee mug, outline notebook, and ergonomic pen—and I’m ready to go!

Being outside is both grounding and refreshing. I love being surrounded by trees and critters while I write, even if I’m not paying much attention. More than that, isolating myself from my normal life inside the house, including my office desk where I do “business stuff” and Internet connectivity in general, almost always sends me straight into story headspace.

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland

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One thing I will note is that taking my writing outside has always worked best when outlining, since I do that in a notebook. When it’s time to work on the first draft, I’ve tried typing on various tools (see #4 below), but none of them are ergonomic enough to stave off back and neck pain.

2. Writing in the “Dark”

When the autumn nights get cold and long and I can’t sensibly take my writing outside any longer, my next best choice is to make my indoor writing space as dark as possible. I will often put on just a single light spotlighting my desk (or fairy lights) to create  a small cozy space. The sense that it’s just me and my writing existing in this little island of warmth helps me zoom in and focus.

3. Writing at a Dedicated Desk

This is one I haven’t yet been able to try, but it’s on my bucket list. Sooner or later, I need my computer in to be able write, whether it’s because I need an ergonomic setup for my keyboard or because I need access to all my notes. But because the computer also happens to be connected to the Internet, not to mention connected to all my other notes (about business or personal stuff), it’s also the single greatest distraction to my writing.

This is why, at some point, I plan to create a second writing space with a smaller desk that is ergonomically favorable for writing by hand and a second computer that contains only writing programs and notes. The idea is not only to remove myself from all the other distractions at my work desk, but also to train my brain to recognize this dedicated space as writing space (rather than a space for also checking email or blog comments, or browsing YouTube or Pinterest, or shopping for socks or toothpaste…).

4. Writing With Tools Other Than Your Regular Computer

Even when you don’t have the choice to create a writing space that is separate from the rest of your digital life, you can still distance yourself from all the distractions of your computer by utilizing other tools. This is one of the main reasons I enjoy writing my outlines longhand in a notebook. Even if my computer is within reach, the act of writing rather than typing puts a degree of separation between my mind and all the other things I could be doing on the computer.

I’ve also played around with digital typewriters, including the old AlphaSmart and the FreeWrite. The big drawback to both is that they aren’t particularly ergonomic. Even if you position the keyboard at an ideal height for your wrists, you still have to bend your neck to look down at the little screen. These tools can also be annoying when you’re trying to reread or edit what you wrote. I don’t use them frequently, but I’m glad to have them for those occasions when I either need a break from my computer and/or want to take my typing on the go.

5. Writing in Public

Finally, you may want to try taking your writing on the road with you. Writing in cafes and other public spaces is part of a long literary tradition. This isn’t my favorite approach, but I’ve tried it with success on several occasions when writing at home just wasn’t working for me and I needed a change of scenery. Earphones and the same tools I use when writing outside are all I need.

5 Tools to Help in Less Than Optimal Writing Settings

Not all of us get to write in those swoony offices/libraries on Pinterest. Even if we do have the chance to create a writing space that is exactly how we want it, we can sometimes find that, in fact, it isn’t as ideal as we imagined. So in the interest of #reallife, let’s round out the discussion with four simple tools that can help us block out distractions and zone in on our writing even in situations that are not the best places to write.

1. Sound-Proof Headphones

Can’t beat this one. Whether or not you’re into listening to music while writing, sound-proof headphones can be a WIP-saver. They’re also great for when you take your writing out in public because you want the company but not the noise.

2. Do-Not-Disturb Apps

If you find your greatest distraction when working on the computer is… the computer, any one of a host of do-not-disturb apps can help you create a writing-safe space on your computer. When writing, I always turn my phone to airplane mode and will often disable my Internet connectivity altogether (it’s off right now). I have previously used the app Freedom to schedule Internet blockages at certain times and from certain websites. Lately, I’ve been looking into Forest, which helps you track your progress, as well as giving you the incentive of real-life planted trees.

>>Click here to read Creativity vs. Distraction: 13 Tips for Writers in the Age of the Internet

3. Corners

If your space is particularly limited and you’re unable to access privacy, you can always do it the old-fashioned way and find a corner. For me, putting myself in a small space is helpful in itself. Facing into the corner will also help block out visual disturbances (as well as cluing in others to the fact that you really don’t want to talk to them right now). Add in sound-proof headphones, and you may not even know you’re not alone.

4. Hoodies

Don’t have a corner handy? Grab your hoodie and blinker yourself from distractions. This isn’t foolproof, but it does give off those “leave me alone” vibes that come in handy for all writers sooner or later.

5. Flamethrower and Machete

Okay, just kidding (mostly). But my metaphorical flamethrower and machete (plus liberal threats) have always worked wonders for me.


Creating the best place to write will be an entirely subjective experience for each one of us. We each have to get real with ourselves about which elements help us write and which ones don’t. From there, we must work with what’s available to us in our personal spaces and immediate vicinity. The perfect writing space may vary day to day depending on your mood. What’s important is coming up with a suite of one to three feasible options you can easily slide into without much thought or preparation whenever it’s time to start writing.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! What are your best places to write? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Grace Dvorachek says

    Great post! I definitely like my privacy when writing… I feel like it’s for my eyes only until I’m ready to let people read it. But the other day, I was stuck in a waiting room for a couple of hours, and I actually enjoyed writing there.

    I also like to grab my notebook and curl up somewhere, whether on my bed or even on top of my desk (yes, I probably looked crazy, but there’s something about a different vantage point that gets the creative juices going). I’m not sure how much longer it’ll take before that desktop starts to feel awfully uncomfortable (I’m 17 so it’s not a problem right now).

    Being an introvert, I think the parts about being in a corner and wearing a hoodie applies to more of my life than writing, so it’s safe to say I’m well versed in the art of looking non-approachable. (I also like corners at social gatherings because I can observe all the people and interactions while totally not looking like a creep.)

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, there’s nothing more distracting than knowing someone can read what you’re writing over your shoulder!

      • Lynette Bernard says

        I agree that the place to write is most important, it must promote the right vibe. I’m a keen gardener so I love to write overlooking my garden and flowers provide the ambiance of peace for me, I relax and am capable of allowing my thoughts to come naturally without trying. I also have the dining table space for my laptop during evenings where the light over the table is the best place to be and for some reason I don’t want to be in isolation, alone in a small room, having the television quietly in the background, comfort is so important to be able to focus.

  2. Hi K
    With a lap tray you can create a ‘desk’ for a laptop or tablet on any bed.

  3. A good, practical post for writers. I have tried many of these ideas. I have tried a variety of writing places, but always come back to my desk, my computer, and my (ergonomic) chair. I spent extra on the chair to get something highly adjustable so I could get it just right for my (aging) body.

    I find warm light helpful especially helpful. I have a small lamp on one of the shelves on the wall the desk backs against.

    Of course, I listen to music when writing. I choose upbeat music (e.g., Two Steps From Hell or Hidden Citizens) for extra energy or when writing an action scene, and quieter, ambient music (e.g., Ludovico Einaudi) for slower scenes. I have never tried soundproof headphones, but now that you’ve brought it up, I think I will.

    Thanks for the post. Do good; be kind.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Totally second you on all three points. I spent a good deal of money on an ergonomic chair from Hermann Miller. So far it’s lasted me about a decade (and followed me through two moves and counting) and has been worth every penny.

  4. James B Robar says

    When I write scenes, which take place in an airport, funeral home, diner, etc., I go to those places with notebook in hand. I spend time listening, sniffing for particular odors, studing people’s expressions, their tone, their clothing style, their moods, and any distracting sounds. Once I get the feeling, I jot notes. I may even pick out the attributes of one or two people to fashion my character around.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s a great idea. Of course, most of my stories are set in worlds that are not our own… But when I wrote my dieselpunk Storming, which is set in my Nebraska hometown in the 1920s, I had lots of fun rambling around and visiting settings in person.

  5. One place to write is in “the prow of the house, where light breaks and the windows are tossed with linden,” (Richard Wilbur, The Writer). But that would probably be too distracting for me. My most productive time for writing was a four year period about ten years ago, when I was getting up at ten to five everyday to work on a bachelor degree in literature followed by a creative writing masters course. From 5am to around 8am, the world is quiet, the desk illuminated by one lamp, and I was never disturbed – I had strong black out curtains. It felt like the moment writing should be done, not doing the actions of living but meditating on living. Imaginatively, that moment after waking up sitting at the desk was like staring into a tranquil pond, everything slightly magnified and distorted but crystal clear, before my thoughts and mood became silted up by the currents of the day. Due to a back problem, I had a kneeling down chair, and this enabled me to lean over the desk more and use more of the desk space without actually having to reach forward. This allowed me to sustain the work for a longer. If I relaxed and leaned back I fell off, so I was always leaning slightly forward applied to the work. After the first three creative hours, I then went to work at my part-time job in admin, or did work on the computer typing up notes. It was tiring starting that early, but it was very satisfying. I cannot replicate this feeling of “writing in the dark” before I go to bed. In the morning my dreams are still lurking and although feeling sleepy, my energy levels are high after a night of sleep – in the evening I am just tired. Importantly it was a completely separate, relatively small, cheap sturdy desk in an alcove, with cork boards all around on the three enclosing walls, and a large piece of thick blotting paper, about A2 size, covering the desk and pinned with thumb tacks in the corners (yes pinned into the wood) – so I could scribble on it doodles and thoughts. When the sheet was full, I rolled it up and put a new one down. I could spill coffee on it and it didn’t matter. The whole space was brown and undecorated except by the yellow light of the desk lamp and the different colour doodles and post-it notes. When I put my pen down, it did not matter if I did not come back for two days. When I did, the pen was still there where I left it, nothing changed, I could pick up exactly where I left off. Since moving house, I have tried to maintain that, but the current house is quite small and although I have tried to create a dedicated writing space in the shed, I have not been able to establish a routine so am using my work desk in the house for writing. At the moment I take notes anywhere and enjoy sitting in the garden when warm enough, or in hotels on vacation, making notes, sometimes just making word paintings on what is happening, mostly notes on theme and plot, characters, dialogue, or ideas for poems that are inspired by what is happening – this is on small notebooks or my iphone or ipad mini (on the train) – I cannot seem to fix on one medium. For the “proper” sustained writing I have to be sitting at a desk in an isolated quiet space preferably without a view. The only music I can write to is instrumental Jazz, in hotel bars… anything with words or with a distinguishable rhythm throws me completely.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      You raise a good point, in that timing is often as important as setting. As I mentioned in the post, I like writing in the “dark.” But timings are tricky, since I’m not a morning person and am usually too mentally spent to write by evening.

  6. Susan Berry says

    I have the desk, actually several desks. I have two rooms dedicated to writing and/or hobbies. Where do I get most of my writing done? Corner of the couch in the living room, laptop on lap. If it’s just a short scene, I’ll grab a cushion and plop the laptop on it. If it’s going to be any length of time, I use the lap desk. My “little voice” tells me that’s not the best for my back or neck. Never have all the tools I need…but it is still where I have my best writing sessions.

  7. I’m still figuring out my best writing space, so these insights are giving me a wonderful way to work on that. Thanks for posting!

  8. Thanks for this post today. For me, the proverbial cafe is hands down the most productive place I write. Every time I sit in a Starbucks or similar coffee shop words tumble out. (Funny thing, I don’t drink coffee). The train is a close second. And the noise-canceling headphones are a must. Like you, music helps me zone-in. But I cannot write with a TV set playing.
    But you’ve inspired me to try the woods.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      No, I hate the modern trend of TVs in restaurants and cafes. It’s so hard to look at anything else…

  9. sanityisuseless says

    The Machete is the best. Works every time.

  10. I quite enjoyed this post! It’s always fun for me to hear what other people have tried. The hoodie tip is wonderfully relatable.

    I live (and work my 9-5) in a small space, so finding ways to make distinctions between the daily grind and writing has been a puzzle to work through.

    Currently, I don’t use my work desk for writing, unless I’m reviewing edits. Aside from the discomfort of continuing to sit in the same spot where I have already spent most of the day, I have a hugely difficult time staying focused with a bright screen in front of me, to say nothing of the internet. Someday I hope I can have a dedicated writing space, but for now, I take my chunky little AlphaSmart to my couch, sit in a different spot than usual, and light a candle. Edits happen on paper first (though I’m looking into a dedicated e-ink tablet for this, so I don’t have to use so much paper), which helps minimize the time I’m obliged to spend on the computer.

    My writing “office-in-bag” has been an effective exercise in making do with what I have, as well as choosing my tools very carefully, while still creating mental distinctions for writing.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, since my “job” is maintaining this site and other related tasks, I work from home with basically no boundaries between “work” and “writing.” It has always been a challenge to carve out spaces and times that are specific to the fiction.

  11. I once visited Dylan Thomas’s house in Wales. He had a little writing shed by the sea front where he could look out to the sea for inspiration. I would love to have something like that but I can only dream.

  12. Ginger Holdeman says

    My writing space is so perfect, a corner of my bedroom. I have a large window to my left facing east, filled with towering mountains, snow capped a good deal of the year. Another smaller window wraps around the corner and is on the wall my desk faces, but off to the left side of the desk so I’m not facing the glare. The windows are low, the bottom the same height of my desk, a beautiful view from both. They have shades to help when we have blue skies and blinding sunshine reflecting off a foot of snow like today. The mountains are always right there and in summer green grass and a rail fence. It’s a peaceful spot.

  13. My personal experience is that obsessing over my writing space is a way to avoid the actual writing. If my writing space is good enough (even if far from perfect), and I’m motivated, I’ll write.

    I’ve also tried disconnecting the internet during my writing time… funny thing is, it doesn’t make me write, if I’m looking for distraction to avoid the hard work of writing, I’ll distract myself without the internet. What I have found somewhat helpful is having a computer background just for writing. When I have that background on, I only allow myself to write, not do anything else on the computer.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Totally hear you on obsessing about the space being a procrastination technique. One thing I learned was that if I had a problem with my space, I needed to set aside time that was *not* writing time in order to address it.

  14. Colleen F Janik says

    Thank you for this inspiring, helpful post! It was so helpful to hear that you don’t always work in the same spot. That’s not necessary. I think I’m going to experiment more with lighting, like candles.
    Also, someone said mornings are best for him, and I tend to agree that I’m most inspired/productive early in the day.
    I have to admit that I do tend to use my writing space decorating as an excuse for not digging in and getting the book done. I tend to be creative in other areas, and the decorating part is so fun. I can see that you have found the ‘magic’ of creating the mood that transports you to that other world.
    I love this subject and think you could write an entire book on the subject—complete with great photos. You include some of these great comments that were shared here today. That would be so amazing.

  15. Privacy is definitely a must when it’s time to write. I have a lovely window, a small desk lamp, and whiteboard I scribble my ‘to do’ list on. It’s all great. However, the biggest distraction has got to be the Internet. Alas, its alluring glow has pulled me away from many important missions I tasked myself with, only to find I’ve wasted the whole hour. So, I use a timer. I set it to 15 min for ‘goof off’ time, and when the timer is done, its done–then it’s time to go to work.

  16. I have a Freewrite Traveler. I love it, but I do touch-type, so I don’t need to crane my neck to be able to look down at the screen. 🙂

  17. I love writing a first draft long hand, outdoors among nature, not caring how many mistakes I make. Later indoors I can do any editing on computer. For me the two don’t mix very well. For a while I tried working by laptop outdoors but it’s hard to concentrate on revision when you’re being bothered by flies and mosquitoes! Then you have to worry about battery power/ screen lighting and unexpected error: your file’s gone – computers ruin the experience of being outdoors, for me anyway.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, there is definitely the potential of way more distractions outdoors. It doesn’t work year-round for me, for sure.

  18. Re computer light: Make sure you set your screen resolution to 1280×720. I was getting headaches all the time before I did that and couldn’t work for more than a couple hours at a time.

    If you live in a household where you can afford it, having a second computer for writing that you don’t hook up to the internet helps a lot too. It also makes me feel safer knowing there’s no risk of losing anything to viruses or hacking.

    My favorite thing to do for working in public is go to a library. College libraries are the best because they’re filled with people working on assignments or studying, which can be motivating and help keep you on task. And their research materials are usually dryer so they aren’t as much of a temptation. (Bonus points if they use the Library Of Congress system, which is so impossible to navigate when you’re used to a public library that you can restrain yourself from going to your favorite sections!)

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Ah, yes, that reminds me that I have actually written in libraries as well. And I agree, it’s a great atmosphere.

  19. I have decamped to the living room for winter, though it’s not ideal it is warm. Much better when the man is out at work.
    I am new to the writing game 4 years, though have been writing poetry most of my life – work always got in the way and I never thought of myself as a writer. I have an atalier (studio) and have been painting also most of my life, but I cannot paint at the moment – carpal tunnel sydrome – recent op., though I can still type of a fashion.. I tend to hand write when I’m stuck – I can touch type faster than I can write – so handwrting tends to slow me down to think things through.
    I have not yet mastered the ‘outline’ and tend to have my characters lead me, they too develop when I throw something at them, though I normally have some idea of their morals lifestyle etc..
    I suppose I’m lucky in that I can write almost anywhere at home. I cannot write in bars or cafes, but I can observe and squirrel away little affectations at the back of my mind and note it down either there or when I get home.
    I did a writing course about 4 years ago and someone gave me your site address – I have learned so much from you (and still am learning). and would just like to say a big thank you.

  20. We just bought a house in Germany and I am fortunate to have my own office now. I have space enough for my computer desk on one side, and I have a smaller writing desk under the window. I still like to write with pen and paper and I find that is sometimes easier for me when working on my character’s background and details.

    I used to struggle with internet distractions when writing on my Mac. I allow myself three hours in the morning to take care of anything online. I use Apple’s focus modes in macOS to turn off distractions when I launch Scrivener, Omni Outliner, and EndNote. I do the same on my iPhone. I find that helps and still gives me the option to research online if I need to.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Congrats on the move! And, yes, I love options that let me distract myself from distractions. The trouble is I can always turn things back on. 😉

    • Using a fountain pen and paper releases my creative instincts like yours. No batteries, no cords, no distractions. Just keep a stack of blank writing paper handy, number and date every page, and not the book to which it belongs.

      I do not live in Germany, but in the foothills of Colorado, where I look at the mountains all of every day—a good alternative.

  21. What a wonderful post and I love all the comments too. I am going to have to try to write in scene places for inspiration next! My preferred places to write are either: the recliner at home perched with legs crossed, or in the corner of a Starbucks with breaks to people watch.

  22. James Warren says

    Mrs Weiland,
    You mentioned that what on one day is a great place to write, might not be the best place tomorrow. Myself (my opinion), I like routine. To write in an unfamiliar place is very distracting to me and I have a problem concentrating. Different atmosphere, sounds, aesthetics, table and placement, and etc. I write in a favorite coffee shop across the freeway in Albany, Oregon. It is Allanns Coffee. They have a quaint little shop in front called the Beanery. I love it there and go there every day. The shop is huge and not many people go there. (Why, I have no idea.) I find that if there are too many differences in the environment, I spend more time daydreaming those differences than writing. Does that make any sense. Of course, that’s just me. There are probably a thousand people who disagree, and that’s OK. I enjoy your blogs and knowledge. Keep writing.


    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’m totally a routine person, and generally speaking I do best when I’m in the same environment every day. But in struggling with massive writer’s block these last few years, in addition to moving twice and having to create new routines in new spaces, I found that what always used to work wasn’t working anymore. I had to get creative there for a while.

  23. Lighting is a must, kind of. My best space during the day is a small room with windows facing north and west. I need a desk lamp to focus on the page. Being on the north side in Colorado, an electric heater is comfortable on cold days.

    Privacy is plus and minus. I like to write uninterrupted and arise at four o’clock in the morning before my wife and dog. The fresh mind and results of subconscious development over night flow creatively in a gush. If I am in a location near a TV, my mind is shattered. The demanding programming and sound modifications to grab our attention is destructive in the extreme. I can write well in a restaurant with activity as long as I do not need to interact with people. I worked in an office in a cubicle too long.

    I can handle clutter but when there are no distractions, visual or auditory, my mind eventually throws off the shackles and ventures into creative, unexplored spaces. I find Indian drums and flutes playing in the background are compelling but not attention stealing. Quiet good music helps at times, but I have been a musician and anything too gripping pulls me away like the internet does.

    Case in point—this post.

    Comfort helps. Resources available help, although most of my historical fiction research is Internet-based. Paper drafts, diagrams, and other hard copies are organized into labeled white notebooks.

    Places. Many are good, but I usually need more time writing that I can allow outside. I write notes in the dark with a lighted pen that does not disturb my wife.
    I built a small desk just like Kate’s. I put nothing on it except pen and paper, and reluctantly a laptop occasionally. The surface proclaims “Write on Me”.

    Other tools are first, a portable digital voice recorder. I dictate on hikes, in the car, at the gym, and in a comfy chair at home. I use Dragon 15.6 to transcribe the recordings into text. I sometimes dictate directly to the computer or correct manuscripts as well.

    No other tools.

    Too long a post, I am sure. Thanks to any one reading this far.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I know some people who write best with background noise, like a TV. But I’m like you: I can’t concentrate if there is too much going on around me.

  24. I use Cold Turkey as an internet blocker I have the premium which is a one time expense and enables me to set a sophisticated schedule. I tie a scarf around the door handle when I’m not to be disturbed and I hog the living room in my apartment. My desk is there. I don’t write in the bedroom because my partner needs to use the bedroom, but he doesn’t need to use the living room in the day time. In the past going to resorts out of season (like in ‘the Shining’ mwah ha ha!) has proved to be a good way to write on the cheap. Although I usually choose the mediterranean not ski resorts. A little bit of boredom can be a help when writing. So resorts should be beautiful but boring. Neil Gaiman’s advice is gold. you can write, you can stare but you can’t do anything else.

  25. I prefer ambient sounds to music. for some reason the best thing for me is thunderstorms (ocean sounds have a tendency to make me start thinking about what the ideal beach cabin would be- no good at all).

  26. I’m thinking of experimenting with dictation onto a windows tablet running Word software which has a speech to text function. there are some walking paths near my home that might be suitable for this, isolated enough to be able to dictate for reasonable spells without being overheard, as I’m self conscious. I’ve got good headphones for it. I might try to jig up something so that I can hang the tablet so that it will sit comfortably 90 degrees to my chest so that I can check that it is doing the speech to text translation sufficiently well. It works holding the tablet in my hands.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’ve played around with dictation, but never felt comfortable enough that the thoughts just flowed.

  27. Clifford Farris says

    Here is what is working for me. I dictate on hikes, in the car, restaurants (a little but it can bother other people). I transcribe to LibreOffice Writer or MS Word.
    Sony digital voice recorder – ICD-PX470
    Sony microphone for recorder – ECMCS3 Lavalier
    Dragon Dictation Software – https://www.nuance.com/dragon.html (expensive but works well.) Individual Professional is what you want because it transcribes recordings. The Home edition does not transcribe wav or MP3 recordings.

  28. Great Post.
    I’m already prescribed to you so how do I get the free ebook ?
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the post and the comments were the icing on the cake.

  29. Parking lot of a grocery store or shopping mall. You still have privacy but also the theatrics of human life. Not ideal for long periods of writing, but if you just want a weird space for a short period, parking lots. For me, they spawn a lot of goofy ideas, then I can do my shopping.

  30. I have two different types of writing desks ten feet apart. The smaller one is dedicated to reading and scrawling; the larger one, with the roll top, is for typing, using an ergonomic keyboard.

    My late father wrote thousands of missives on each of these desks, often by hand, using his trademark blue paper. He never published the novels he once envisioned, nor even his memoirs. But he left his desks to me.

    Troy Thompson

  31. Gary Dickerson says

    I have written in many spaces. Sometimes on late shift at work when the only thing you hear is the fans blowing. A white noise takes over and can put you to sleep if you are not careful. I have taken my laptop to the park but it has to be quite there for me to get anything done. In my house at my desk with head phones playing music that suites the book I am working on. I fall into a state where I am alone. The noise around me disappears into that white noise and the world I live in folds up and my fantasy world unwraps itself.

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