I am sitting on my lanai, where I’ve been for the past two hours, writing. It’s incredibly humid, but not unbearably hot due to an ongoing thunderstorm. Lightning flashes close by, with increasing frequency, and I’m reminded of the safety lessons I was taught as a kid. I’m sitting on a wrought iron chair, six feet or so from the “mouth of the cave” – almost exactly where I should NOT be in a lightning storm. I am counting on the lightning finding the idiot fishing along the sea wall in the open field beside my building. I should move. I don’t. It’s my spot. The lightning will just have to go around me.
I sit out here just about every morning, have my coffee, think, and write. I often catch myself thinking, “I should go inside and go to work” and then I realize that I am working: I’m writing.
I have a dedicated home office. Everything eventually ends up in a neat electronic file on my laptop. But I write best out on the lanai, in the mornings, writing longhand.
Many of my clients work from home, whether it’s a fully functional home office or the dining room table. Some of my clients have an outside office that they go to every day. Some have day jobs and they are building their second career, their business, on nights and weekends. And each one has a place and a time that they can sit and write. There’s no one spot that works for everyone. There’s no right way or wrong way.
Some people need complete quiet. Others work best with background noise. I have a friend who works best in noisy coffee shops – he gets energy from the movement. I have another friend who hides out in his local library twice a week for a few hours.
You Also Need a Good Thinking Place
Just like your writing place, your thinking place may be quiet or noisy; home or away. It may not actually be a location at all. It may be an activity that has become so automatic that it’s almost a meditation. Walking is one of the best activities to get your brain thinking. Maybe golfing or knitting works for you.
You may have to try out various things to finally get to what works for you. Think about how a dog circles three times before he lies down. Dogs know how important their place is. There’s a reason why cats sit in that beam of sunlight. Find your place and just think.
I am lucky in that my thinking place and writing place coincide. I do my best thinking in the early mornings. (Yes, of course I’m not fully awake. What’s your point?) I have my coffee on my lanai overlooking the water. It’s quiet and peaceful and conducive to thinking and writing. You may be at your thinking best in the late evenings or maybe at sunset. Maybe it’s after that third cup of coffee. (Just me?)
And Sometimes You Need to Get Out of Dodge
I know several professional writers who will book a hotel room for several days or a week in order to concentrate on writing their books with no distractions. No cooking or cleaning, no day to day annoyances, no non-critical emergencies to sort out. Writers’ retreats work on the same principle – you have no excuse not to write.
I write for a living but one of my personal projects was back-burnered – for years. I realized the only way I would ever complete the project was to set aside time and literally make an appointment to work on the book. A friend and I meet once a week for a three hour block to work on our books. We get out of the normal environment of our home offices and meet at a local coffee shop. Within a few months I had finished the project that had hung over me for years. Which freed me up to start the next project.
If you’ve been having trouble settling in to write your book, maybe you haven’t found your spot yet. Think about where you work best, where you feel most comfortable, what times work best for you. Once you’ve found your spot, use it on a regular basis. You’re building a pattern in your brain. When I sit here at this time, I am ready to write. A lot of writing is putting your butt in a chair on a regular basis. Make sure it’s a comfy one.