Where You Write Matters for How You Write

Often, you can find me wearing my polka-dot fuzzy pants, sitting on the couch with the tv on, trying to write. My puppy interrupts me so I will let her go outside and find beetles. Dishes pile up in the sink, and towels need to be washed immediately if my husband and I are going to have any clean ones tomorrow.

Sound familiar?

So, today I decided that I would try a different approach: moving myself off of my couch and into Barnes and Noble. I found this approach to be very helpful, and I plan to relocate my writing area several times a week.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a place to write:

1) Find a place where you can focus. Let's face it: the biggest struggle with writing from home is, well, that it's home. There are things that need to be cleaned, washed, and watched. One of the benefits of Barnes and Noble for me was that I don't know how to get on their WiFi and knew that would minimize my Facebook and Twitter time.

2) Go somewhere that makes you feel cool. No, not chilly. Inspired. Happy. (Unless your "place" is Maui, like me. That makes things a bit challenging.) Music is important. If your location makes you feel creative, you will trick yourself into writing more creatively. Think Barnes and Noble, Panera Bread, Starbucks, etc.

3) Coffee shops are a great option, but consider free hang-outs as well, like parks. While coffee shops offer an easily-accessible, conducive environments for creative thought, you're going to drop $2-$4 every time you go there, which can add up if you are planning to write every day.

4) Pick a place far away from distractions, or determine in your mind that you will not run errands during writing time. After making a lot of progress today, I decided I would take a quick break and run by the mall. My "break" turned into shopping time when I saw the sales.

5) Find a place (and people) that you can write into your story. An added benefit of going somewhere people congregate is that you can casually people-watch. Need descriptive details for your coffee shop scene in your contemporary novel? All you have to do is look around. Was the barista rude to you when you asked for extra sweetener? Write her into your story; that will show her.

Even if you can't physically relocate your writing environment, try to find ways to metaphorically relocate it by listening to music, going outside, or going to a different room to write. Make rules for yourself for how much housework your let yourself do during writing time. Writing is indeed a talent, gift, and career that must be intentionally cultivated. Don't sell yourself short as a writer by allowing your writing time to become crowded out with busywork.

Have you struggled with distractions when trying to write from home? What strategies have you found help you focus? Do you have a favorite writing spot?

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