The Writing Room

Stephen King isn’t the only one to say it. Virtually every writer understands the importance of having a special place to write. The trick is finding such a place.

Not all of us are afforded the luxury of a spare room in our homes. We imagine the day where we can retreat to our inner sanctum, surrounded by all of our reference books and inspiring flotsam. We think that if we can just get to that point, we will write non-stop.

Here’s the thing: you won’t get there until you’re already there.

If you do not have the discipline to find a place to write, no secret vault where you can shut yourself out from the world will help you. The important thing is to, right now, today, this very moment, find your place to write. This can be something simple as a corner in one room. It can be a bench in the nearby park that you haunt. It can be the Starbucks around the corner. The place only matters in that it affords you the area with which to write.

There are some caveats. First, your writing place must be easily accessible. It’s no use having your writing place at the park thirty miles away that you can only get to every second Tuesday. You need a place where you can go easily and quickly. Give yourself no excuse to not write.

Second, you absolutely should not have a phone in your writing place. Even if you are writing in the coffee shop or park or wherever, turn the blasted thing off. Let everyone know you’re unavailable for the hour (or however long) you are to write. Phones are distracting. Your time is precious.

Third, speaking of distraction, you should write in a place that provides no distraction. If you write in the Starbucks, find a corner, plug in to your MP3 player, and face the wall. If you write at home, don’t write in the same room in which there is a television. These things pull us away from our writing.

If you cannot find a place to write today, you haven’t yet committed to writing. You should dedicate at least an hour to writing* every day. If you cannot do that, you are not serious enough to write. I know a person who has to drive 90 minutes one-way to their job every morning. He has a function every evening until 9PM. He also attends school online. He still finds time to write every day. That’s not amazing, that’s discipline.

If you’ve got the discipline pegged, now you need to find your place. Although, most likely, if you’ve got one you’ve done the other.

 

*An hour may seem arbitrary, and probably is. Do it anyway. It doesn’t have to be a contiguous hour.

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