Location, Location, Location

There are definitely some places that are better for writing than others, but the checklist of good qualities varies from writer to writer. I know writers who prefer perfect silence and writers who need background noise. Some writers have a lot of trouble writing when they aren’t in their ideal writing place with their exact brand of pen and paper. This sounds like hyperbole, but I really do know a few who have trouble with this.

I think that I’m one of the luckier writers. There are very few places, noise levels, or situations in which I cannot write. That said, I’d like to list a few of the places that I’ve discovered where it’s extremely difficult to get any writing done.

My cover identity (the person I pretend to be so I can blend into the non-writing world) is employed as a Nanny for two elementary school aged boys. During the summer, they have a TON of lessons, swimming, tennis, karate, gymnastics, golf, and sometimes ice skating. During the winter, they just have karate. There’s nothing like two lines of children calling stances, screaming “kyah!” and sparring with friendly vehemence for destroying my concentration.

Kid paradise it might be with its tasty, non-nutritive food substitutes, brightly painted walls, and munchkin friendly play equipment, but it is not much of a place for adults. I try not to take the boys out for fast food as much as I can avoid it, and there are better places than McDonalds out there, but, occasionally, they earn a trip for especially good behavior. While they’re playing in the tunnels, nets, and slides, I try to get a little writing done. This only works if no one else is in the kids area because, a) screaming children are distracting, and b) my nanny radar goes on high alert if anyone else is around. When it’s just the boys playing together, I can track them by their voices, and still write. The minute another person is in the area, I’m suddenly paying attention to everything that’s going on, and no writing happens, which is fine; the boys are my first priority. I’ve just observed that McDonalds is a bad place to work.

I think this one isn’t so much about the location as about the state of mind. I think if I were hospitalized, I might be able to get some writing done, but when I’m there because of a friend or family member, there’s almost no way I can make myself work, no matter how long I’m in the waiting room.

There are lots of other places that aren’t conducive to writing, but I can usually make them work. I figure if I, OCD as I am, can write in my bedroom when it gets messy, I can write just about anywhere else. The trick is not to let myself start cleaning, or I’ll spend eight hours on a twenty minute mess because I notice that some of the hangars in my closet are the wrong color, then I see that some of the clothes are hanging backwards, and some are in the wrong color, or item zones… It gets worse from there.

I guess the best thing is just to try to keep yourself from letting environment be a factor in your ability to write as much as possible. Part of this is realizing that most of the obstacles are in your head, and learning to dismiss them. And in this case, by you, I mean me. And it seems to work for me.

I only wish I could apply this to sleeping. I think I’m going to go nuts from insomnia before I get my novel finished if I don’t get some sleep soon.


~ by lamichaud on September 26, 2012.

3 Responses to “Location, Location, Location”

  1. I also have trouble writing in noisy places. It usually helps me to wear headphones and have music going if I can get away with it.
    The worst place for me, though, is in front of the tv. Even if it’s something I’ve seen, it’ll distract me.

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