Where to Write

If you write, where do you write? Is it your choice?

(As I write this, I’m sitting on my sofa at home.)

If you’re employed by a company, you probably don’t have much choice. It may be an office or cubicle, where interruptions are the norm. (If it’s an office, then at least you can shut the door.)

If you’re a freelancer like me, then you have more control over your writing space. I think it gives those of us who fly solo an advantage, although my cubicle days at an ad agency and The Seattle Times were mostly enjoyable. Most co-workers, including those task-minded account executives, were considerate. They knew creatives needed as much solitude as possible.

I thought of this topic when I recently picked up Stephen King’s On Writing, one of my favorite books on the writing craft.

“You can read anywhere, almost, but when it comes to writing, library carrels, park benches, and rented flats should be courts of last resort,” King writes.

“Truman Capote said he did his best work in motel rooms, but he is an exception; most of us do our best in a place of our own.”

Yes, a place of your own is usually the most conducive to writing (if you have the self-discipline to actually write). Maybe it’s the coffee shop. Or maybe it’s your den at home at 1 a.m.

If you have “assigned seating” at a company, do your best to make the space your own. It might not be ideal, but you can make it work. Even Stephen King struggled early on with his writing space.

“I wrote my first two published novels, Carrie and Salem’s Lot, in the laundry room of a doublewide trailer,” King writes, “pounding away on my wife’s portable Olivetti typewriter and balancing a child’s desk on my thighs.”

Now that’s downright scary.

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