So, today as I sit down to write in a familiar environment, I'm curious about you, Fictioneers.
Where do you write?
Not the setting your fictional characters live in.
I'm wondering about your physical environment. Home? Office? Patio? And how superstitious are you about that place? Is it clean? Cluttered?
Several years ago, I realized that it was easier for me to more quickly get into (and out of) the zone at a local coffee shop than in my home office. With time always in short supply, sinking quickly into that place where all the distractions vanish, where the story runs crystal clear through your head like a cold-water stream, is vital.
For me, it makes sense. No ringing phone. No email to check. No family distractions, and nobody driving up to knock on the door. Hot coffee on hand. Pleasant music.
One enjoyable aspect of writing in public is people watching. And listening. A couple years ago, a local PI used the corner table for a temporary office. I got a kick out of listening to him discuss cases over his Bluetooth ear piece. His slogan should've been "We take the private out of private detective."
But the place is far from perfect. Every now and then, a writing session gets dangerously interrupted by some loudmouth talking religion or politics. Or one of the friendly regulars (bless 'em) stops past my table to chat. And there's ergonomics to consider. Even though I protect my wrists while typing, the chair isn't the best for long term work.
So it's great for quick sessions. Say an hour, or two with a break. A thousand words.
For longer sessions, my office chair at home offers great back support and arm rests. And my computer screen is bigger. Here too, I can get the coffee and music, but I have to be extra careful about the distractions. Cute as they may be, I don't type well with the cat on my lap. Or keyboard. You cat people know what I mean.
And for me, the neighbor situation is better now than it was. This is similar to the problem I mentioned above about well-meaning friends stopping by the coffee shop table. It's worse at home, when they park themselves on your doorstep or, if they get past your defenses, fall onto your couch. For about a year we had a gal who, upon finding out that we worked at home, just couldn't pass up the chance to unload her woe upon us two or three times a week. The only way to deal with that was a polite, but firm rebuff. Hard to do in a rural area where nobody's a stranger.
Author Kevin J. Anderson gave up the keyboard and dictates most of his work while walking or hiking. This seems ideal, and a fine solution to some of the health problems writers (and other sedentary workers) face. I've dabbled with Dragon speaking software in the office, but have never tried straight dictation while involved in another activity. You can read moreabout Kevin's process here.
So what about it, Fictioneers? Where do you write? What props do you need? How do you avoid the distractions? Please share a comment below.
After growing up on a Nebraska farm, Richard Prosch worked as a professional writer, artist, and teacher in Wyoming, South Carolina, and Missouri. His western crime fiction captures the fleeting history and lonely frontier stories of his youth where characters aren’t always what they seem, and the windburned landscapes are filled with swift, deadly danger. Read more at www.RichardProsch.com