A Place to Write

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. – Franz Kafka

While having, as Virginia Woolf coined the term, A Room of One’s Own, free of every day distractions and the commotion of life, might be ideal, most writers have to make do with smaller arrangements. If you don’t have a room maybe you can use the kitchen table or a desk in your bedroom or in a corner of the living room.

Consider that if you have a bed, you have an office. Since writing is about thinking, feeling, imagining, practice and playing with words, it can easily be done lying down. Colette, Proust, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, James Joyce, and countless other writers have preferred to write in bed. If you start writing when you first awaken you are already in that semi conscious state, with the echoes of dream time, so conducive to slipping into the creative flow. It also affords a relaxed atmosphere where we are less likely to take ourselves seriously which allows the creative spirit to play.

Or you may like to leave the house and go to a coffeehouse. I really like writing in cafes because I feel part of the world even as I engage the solitary task of writing. Also my rational mind gets distracted by all the activity around me allowing my creative mind to slip more easily into the writing.

You can also write just about anywhere and make progress with your work by grabbing stray moments while you are in the doctor’s waiting room or getting your oil changed. I will sit in my car and write or work on revision when I am early for an appointment. Robert Olen Butler, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his collection of short stories A Good Scent from A Strange Mountain commuted by train from Long Island into New York City. This was the only time he had to write so he got in the habit of writing a certain number of words on the way in and the same number going home. He wrote entire novels this way.

Ask yourself, “where is the best place for me to write?”, then see what comes to you as you go about your day then try it out. Knowing the places that work best for you are part of honoring yourself as a writer.

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