Last fall, and again this winter, I took a couple of writing classes. They were fun, interesting and more importantly they were informative. In the class I took this winter, the instructor spoke to us about the importance of setting up a writing area. She also shared some tips and tricks. Some I agreed with, and some I didn’t. While I agreed with her that it’s very important to limit distractions, for the instructor, this included music. At first, I was internally appalled at that, but then I realized, that is what works for her. That does not necessarily work for somebody else. And then it got me thinking about the writing process.
When I first started writing, I wrote literally anywhere and everywhere. I wrote in notebooks and on legal pads, and then I would type it up on the desktop the family shared in the living room while the television was blaring, the kids were playing and people were talking. I wrote at work on my lunch break (and sometimes when I should have been working), I wrote when I sat at karate with my kids, or skating with my daughter. I wrote anywhere, and it was never quiet, and there were a million distractions. And you know what? I was more creative then that I have been in a very long time. The words literally poured out of me. This was at the height of my fan fiction writing. Was it Nobel Prize winning literature? Nope. Did it make me happy? More than you will ever realize.
At our last class, the instructor asked where do you write? She then asked us all if we’d set up our writing spaces yet and she happily shared that she was turning a spare room in her home into her new writing area. The others in the class shared where the wrote, and then it was my turn. Me, right now, I write on my bed. Sometimes, like now, I write on my sofa in the living room with the television blaring, and sometimes, if I give my students a writing assignment, I write too. No quite room with the desk set just so, no cozy quiet environment. At first I felt badly, like maybe I wasn’t a real writer because I didn’t have a dedicated writing space.
Then I started thinking back to when I was at my most prolific and where I wrote, and I realized that where I write doesn’t make me a writer. The fact that I write makes me a writer. Would it be nice to have a dedicated writing space in my house? Sure! But I know me. I’d get so caught up in making it the perfect writing environment that I wouldn’t actually get any writing done. How do I know this? Well, I just spent 30 minutes looking for a picture or meme to go along with this blog post. Fun fact – I couldn’t find one. Apparently there aren’t any memes out there about the perfect writing environment.
Do I get distracted writing on the sofa, or on my bed with the television on? Yeah, I do, I really, really do. Maybe I should change my location. Maybe this summer when school is out, I’ll get up early and go to the library every day and write. I’d say it would make me more focused, but a part of me thinks NOPE, not happening. I’ll still have the internet to distract me, and worse, library patrons to make up stories about in my head. Maybe I could call in character research.
Or maybe, I can just continue on like I’ve been doing. It works for me, and it feels right, and that’s what it’s all about.