The Write Place

Hello, SE Readers. Joan here on this first day of May. Can anyone tell me what happened to April?  It seems to have disappeared…

Anyhow, today I want to talk about having a dedicated place in which to write.

A few weeks ago, fellow Story Empire author Craig Boyack mentioned he was going to retreat into his writing cabin. I immediately responded that I would love to have a small cabin just for writing. That’s when I learned his place wasn’t an actual cabin, but an area in his home where he retreats to write.

Okay, I admit to having a fascination with cabins. So much that I have an entire Pinterest Board titled “I’d Like to Write Here.” It has photos of cabins (and a few other spots) that I think would make ideal writing places. Oh to have such a place where I could be free from all distractions…

A log home in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Site of my weekend writer’s retreat.

However, since I don’t own a cabin in the woods or have one readily accessible, I have to make do with the space I have. I believe writers need to be flexible. I’ve written in coffee shops, hotel rooms, during my lunch break at my daytime job, and outdoors.

Yes, I’ve even written from a cabin in the woods when I went on a writer’s retreat with three friends a few years ago. But the bulk of my writing is done in my home in a spot I call my writing nook.

Helping or hindering?

For years, my “nook” was the end of the sofa with my laptop. But my cats don’t always understand that I’m not playing, but working. I also discovered some of my most productive time was during my lunchtime at work. I had a comfortable desk, a quiet office, and no distractions from playing on social media.

A few years ago, a writing instructor talked about the importance of having the right spot in which to write. I decided if I was going to do this writing thing professionally, and someday become a full-time writer, then I needed a better setup. I purchased a small desk and chair and went to work.

Of course, I’m helping. Keeping you from work by sitting on the edited copies of your manuscript.

By taking this small step and moving from the sofa to a desk, I became more productive. I realize it’s a mindset, but by having my own space, I felt more like a pro and looked at my writing as a second job. (The cats still don’t understand and sometimes want to “help.”)

It’s important to note that having the most expensive computer, beautiful desk, and the perfect office setting will not make us more productive. We have to be purposeful and limit ourselves from distractions. (I wrote about a way to block social media during our writing times a few weeks ago in this post.)

We also have to apply chair glue—butt in chair, fingers on keyboard. But making small changes—even rearranging an area can make all the difference in the world. Having the right place to write is essential to productivity.

What about you? Do you have an ideal writing spot? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Joan Hall

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66 thoughts on “The Write Place

  1. Pingback: Curated Content for Writers | Story Empire

    • Popped over to read the post and saw my comment. Funny that was just about the time I bought my new desk. Unfortunately, the pain in my knee is still there and I learned it wasn’t related to balancing a laptop. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d love to have a writing nook but at present I have to be contented with being a nomad writer. I write at the kitchen counter in the morning, at the coffee shop during lunch, on the sofa in the evening, on my phone when I have a great idea which can’t wait, on the train or plain when I travel. Actually, I write wherever I can.
    I dream of having a room for writing and reading in my home… Some day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Irene, I remember when you would post your lunch and writing photos. Always enjoyed those. Yes, having a dedicated room is ideal, but we make do with what we have. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some great ideas here, Joan! I have a separate work place at home; otherwise, I would either never get any work done or I wouldn’t be able to unwind in my off time, lols. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Joan, lots of interesting ideas here. Lately, I’ve found just being alone and/or putting on the headphones with instrumental music just gets me rolling along. I find it hard to write at a cafe due to all the distractions of people walking around. I have had moderate success at the library in a quiet corner. Fun post today, kudos!

    Liked by 2 people

    • P. H. I’m with you on the cafe. Although I have written in a coffee shop, it’s usually a blog post or more importantly, people watching and gathering ideas. I used to want the room totally quiet for writing, but of late, I have listened to some music and it helps to inspire me. Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Joan, loved your post! Sorry I’ve missed so many, but I am now back in the States after a long vacation in Cancun, and am playing catch-up. I’m fortunate that we have an extra bedroom in the house that we converted into an office/den for my writing space two years ago. Complete remodel from the flooring up, including brand new furnishings. It’s “my” dedicated room in the house and I love to retreat there to write. In the summer when the weather is nice I will also occasionally work outside on the deck or porch. I need a place free of distractions but Raven, my cat, frequently makes her presence known when I am inside in the den 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • You know you were the envy of all your fellow Story Empire authors! Just kidding, glad you have a wonderful time. Nice to have a dedicated office. Even if I had such, Tucker wouldn’t allow me to stay in there without him. He would scratch on the door until I let him in. But you know how cats can be!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I scribble everywhere, but the actual typing takes place at Command Control Centre in the corner of the bedroom. A handy feature of this set up is the wooden floor and my office chair on wheels( a cheap bargain at a Scandi shop). I am constantly spinning round and scooting the few feet to the bed where notes, files, books etc are thrown, spread out or retrieved.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Joan, I shared your post on my site. I think readers like to know what writers’ workspaces are like. It’s interesting. I know I couldn’t work on my knees, but I often find myself in my bedroom because, while the kids are still here (which won’t be much longer), it’s the only space I can close off and concentrate. Most of my former houses had dedicated offices, and I only did freelance work. Now that I write every day, I’m without a dedicated space. (Must be some form of Murphy’s Law.)

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Pingback: The Write Place

  9. Great post, Joan! I’m with you on the idea of a writing cabin in the woods, but alas, I don’t have one of those either. So far, one of my two children has left home (finishing freshman year in college), and I’m waiting for the other one to follow. Still, I’ll have to wait a few years before I can convert a bedroom into a writing office. For now, I’ve got a comfy chair in the bedroom that has been working okay, but I’m anticipating the day I can have a real writing office. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Julie, that’s right where I am. My oldest is a college freshman wrapping up his first year and my daughter graduated HS in December and goes to college in the fall. In the foreseeable future, I doubt we’ll have the money to rent a cabin for a vacation let alone build me a dream one for writing! (My writing space right now is an armoire in the corner of my family room, but it’s a FAMILY room. So much goes on in there, I’m usually barricaded in my bedroom with my laptop. Sigh.)

      Liked by 3 people

    • I hear you, Julie. No writing cabin for me anytime soon. Unless I become the next John Gresham or the like. 😉 But we writers make do with what we have. It’s our love of words and turning out stories that keep us going.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My office is setup in the sun room, and it’s my favorite place to write. In the cold weather I’m banished to the living room. I feel way more productive in my office/sun room, but there’s no heat out there. We’re hoping to remedy that this year.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Great post, Joan. And I agree, it’s important to have a writing place. Mine is my favorite spot in the house. This house came with an “extra” room right off the family room. It had been a porch long ago, and had been enclosed and incorporated into the main body of the house. With a family room and formal living room, and there only being two of us now, I declared this extra room my library. And so it has become, complete with floor to ceiling bookshelves, and a built-in computer desk. Since my handwriting is no longer legible, not even to me, I write at my PC.

    But I’ve given myself a reason to recognize it is my creative spot. I’ve covered the three walls surrounding the desk nook with corkboard, and that, in turn, is my inspiration board. It’s covered in photos representing my characters and their homes, and the surrounding habitats. On the right, I have everything that reminds me of my mountain series, from photos of the actors I see as Rabbit, MacKenzie Cole, and Sarah Gray, to stunning Blue Ridge Mountain vistas and foaming white waterfalls. And yes, there IS a cabin, since I based my first book on one.

    On the left are scenes from my fictional town of Riverbend, Florida, including the Painter Brother’s farmhouse, and Willow Green’s little pink cottage. And there are photos of the three actors I imagine as the Painter boys, plus some lovely pictures of Chris Hemsworth, who was my inspiration for the Vikingly Gunnar Wolfe. (Chris can be VERY inspirational, trust me.)

    All in all, the minute I sit down at my desk, I’m transported to the places I write about. And since I’m not into many other computer activities (beyond blogging, which I love), I’m not often tempted to go wandering off into the ether, when I can disappear into my imaginary worlds and spend time with the characters who live in my head. It works for me.

    Having said that, it’s time for me to head back to Riverbend and get my latest book formatted so I can upload it to Kindle this week. Thanks for an interesting post, Joan, and I’ll be following the comments, for sure. When I’m not hanging out with my imaginary friends, of course. 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    • That sounds amazing, Marcia. I always wanted a room like that. I’ve thought about putting cork inside the doors of my computer armoire, but that wouldn’t be nearly enough. (And yes, Mr. Hemsworth is indeed an inspiration!)

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s not fancy or anything, Staci, but I love it. Mark built all the shelving for me, and built the desk into one section of it. It’s all natural pine, and goes with the beachy colors of the house, but nothing glamorous. And my corkboard area isn’t large. Maybe 2′ high, by the width of the desk, and then a 18″ wrap around on each end. But you’d be amazed at how many pics I can pin to it. It works for me, and best of all, puts me into Writer Mode as soon as I sit down. 🙂

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      • I agree, though this is a good-sized “found” room, for a 40-year old ranch house. About 22′ x 15′, so plenty of room for a library, a desk/work area, a sofa and two chairs. And currently, a Kiddie Corral housing two ancient dachshunds who are no longer allowed to climb on furniture, due to their bad backs. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

    • Love it, Marcia. Love the idea of having a corkboard. I have created private Pinterest boards with images of what I imagine my characters to look like as well as scenes and settings. And it’s so easy to be transported to those wonderful places. Best of luck on your new release!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I use Pinterest, too. Among my many boards, I have one for each of my books, and I save tons of inspiration photos to them. That’s usually where I pick the ones I want to print for my cork Inspiration Board. I even have a Pinterest board for Ol’ Shuck, or the Black Dog, since he figures prominently in my 3rd Wake-Robin Ridge book, Harbinger. I had a great time tracking down pictures of pretty scary looking black dogs, both real and imaginary interpretations of the original Celtic legend. My only problem with Pinterest is, I can’t just pop over there, pin a couple of things, and leave. Pinterest is like the crack cocaine of social media. Pin one thing, and you’ve lost the day!! It’s so addictive! 😯

        Liked by 1 person

  12. That sounds like a great writing place, Carmen. Funny how you mention the kitchen table. I live in my childhood home and when my parents lived here, the kitchen table was a gathering place. Folks sat around, drank coffee, and talked. Good memories. I have cranked out a few words there.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Great post, Joan. I am one of those who cannot just go to the coffee shop and write. I need to be alone with my thoughts. Having a comfortable place is paramount to my efforts. Thanks for the nod to the writing cabin.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I tried to write yesterday afternoon, but my husband was home watching TV. It’s in the same room as my PC and I couldn’t concentrate. Fortunately, I have a laptop, so I took it in the other room. Managed to crank out a few words. And I love the idea of a “writing cabin.” Virtual or literal!

      Liked by 3 people

  14. I still thought we had a day left of April. Oops.

    These are always interesting posts to me because I have no designated space. No room for it in the house and I’m twitchy in public. I work in the bedroom while either sitting on or kneeling next to my bed with the laptop. It’s the only private spot in the house and I can’t fit a desk in there. There are times that I get the desktop and nobody else in the house. Those are rare. Honestly, after 7 years of this, I don’t know if I could function in an office. Be nice to try though.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Thank you, Joan, for a glimpse into your writing life!
    I agree that no expensive gadget for writing or fancy studio can replace the excitement for writing. I read sometime ago that Catherine Cookson, one of the authors I consider a mentor, used to write on the corner of the kitchen table. She was not exactly poor at that time, but close to it. And she wrote many touching stories there.
    I have a small room I call the muse’s den. There’s no radio, TV, PC in there. So no distraction. It has shelves stacked with books and dictionaries and the table where I sit and write. In fact it was the girls’ room when they were young and lived with us. Unfortunately I can use it only during warm weather as there’s no heating there. But it is enough for me. I find there the “fairy dust” that transports me to other worlds and eras every time I sit down to write.

    Liked by 4 people

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