Tuesday 3 September 2013

Choosing Your Writing Spot - The Creative Process

Choosing Your Writing Spot

They say that when you want to be productive, you need to have a good place to make the production happen. That's what I'm going to write about today. How do you know where the best place to write is? Do you want to set up an office or writing corner? Or do you want to be flexible with where you work? Just want a place you go to when you want to escape and write? I'm going to try and cover all of that, but I may miss some, just give me a poke, I'll probably have fallen asleep or something!

So, you've got an idea. You've planned down to the last detail. You have everything ready, and now you just need to decide where that perfect place to work is. Yet, you don't know if you need to have a unique spot or just a table at the local Starbucks or equivalent. I have always been a desk person, and up until 2010, I only had a small desk that would only fit my desktop. I usually did my writing on my there or on my laptop. Things have changed, but going back to getting set up.

When I first started writing, I just used a corner of a table, I set up a mini office space and used that every day, and it was fine. When I moved in 2003 and had my own place, I did all my writing by hand, and typed it up onto the computer while editing it later. I wrote in front of the TV, in the kitchen, I wrote in bed and anywhere I saw fit. It wasn't until later that I started typing rather than writing and to begin with I just wrote at my desk in a corner of my living room.

Enter a baby and things all changed. I got a laptop for university and took it, and myself, to a friend's house where I was given all the tea I could drink, and for one day a week I could write in peace. That was my writing day and the rest of the week I just did dribs and drabs when I could tune out the noise. When I finally moved into a house rather than a flat, and the baby had her own room, and me my own office, things started to get a little more controlled and planned.

I had this wondrous invention, it was a wooden door that I could close and make people knock before they entered. I wrote mostly in there on my massive corner desk that has space for a laptop, a desktop and numerous other things I deem "essential" to my work. Occasionally I would take my laptop and go and sit in the sun while having tea at Starbucks, and that would make a nice break every once in a while. My writing spot has always been somewhat mobile. I saw no point in sticking to one place and one routine because life has a funny way of getting in the way when you plan things like that. It wasn't really until child went to school full time that I started to have "working" hours and even that was dependant on university and my health.

In the last few weeks, now that I have a tablet to write with, I have experimented with a number of places to write. It is a wondrous thing to be able to carry my work in a light bag, press one button and instantly I can start where I left off. The wonders of technology. Of course, having tried to write on a boat, at soft play areas and other such places, I can tell you that no one can tell you where the best place for YOU to write is. I personally find it hard to concentrate at times. If I'm writing on my computer, I'll get distracted with shiny internet things (as seen here). If I force myself to go out to a cafe or something to write, I feel that I'm spending money, and the pressure starts to mount, and that does not lead to productivity.

It may be that for some people, writing a schedule detailing when, where and for how long, works for them. I have somewhat of a schedule, it's more  fluid because there are times when you have small ones and health conditions. Something you'll learn is even though you say that you will work nine to three every week day, it is not always an obtainable goal. The main point I'm trying to make here is that writing should be something you enjoy. At least, it shouldn't be something you dread every time you sit down at the computer/writing desk/tablet etc. I know that writers have  days when they fall short of their goal. There are also times when it feels like you're pulling teeth and all you've managed to write is a couple of lines. However, the aim of the game is to enjoy. You need to be able to breathe and not panic because the little one was sick and you had to go and collect them from school or something.

It is easy to fall into the trap where you set yourself a number of words a day. Where you decide that you absolutely, without fail, MUST write 2,500 words a day. It's great in theory, but when you apply too much pressure to even the most productive of people, eventually they will snap. That's not to say that it isn't a good idea to apply some pressure. The amount though will depend on the person. I am not too good with deadlines, I get anxious and critical and just wind myself too tightly, but I do set myself goals with the knowledge that not meeting them is not a failure, it just means life got in the way.

So, when choosing your writing spot, it's good to know what you hope to achieve whilst in that spot. It's good to try a few different ones, it's good to have some semblance of a routine (unless that doesn't work for you, in which case, don't!) and it's good to set deadlines and goals. You just have to make sure that they are reachable, and not too much pressure for your own comfort. As always, your mileage may vary, but feel free to share where your favourite writing spot is in the comments below :D

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