Advice for Writers

Every Writer Needs a Sanctuary – Where’s Yours?

I have written before about how to schedule time for creative writing, but there is one critical element you need aside from making time to write, having somewhere to go. There should be a physical space for you to go, whether it is a utility room you barely use, a part of the lounge or conservatory, an office corner in your breakfast room, the important thing is that it is somewhere comfortable and free from distraction.

DSCF5343Distraction is the biggest stumbling block to any productive writing session and no matter where you work, no matter how pleasant, if you are distracted your productivity will be seriously hampered. You need a wo/man cave to work your magic – and if you have children, you’ll need to schedule your time and space around them too.

My Writing Caves

I have two writing caves. Due to my limited space, it is my bedroom and my ancient Dell desktop (11 years old in the summer!) in the corner complete with writing desk, comfy executive chair, bedside lamp, CDs and electronic paraphernalia. It’s next to a window so in the summer, it doesn’t really work very well as a man cave. It also needs a tidy up at the moment, so I won’t post a picture. I’m in the process of having a winter clear out so maybe I will post a picture in future. The non-internet connected computer is great for preventing the web from distracting you.

My second is more about time as well as space. People who know me know I’m in a long distance relationship and the 4-5 hour train journeys are actually very conducive to getting some fiction done, especially when I’m on a FGW service with a quiet coach and a table all to myself – harder at weekends, if I travel during the week and off peak there is sometimes no more than five people in that carriage. The view between Exeter St. David’s and Newton Abbot is a bit of distraction thanks to the gorgeous coastal views along the mouth of the River Exe, but that’s about it. The Somerset–>Cornwall  countryside is lovely and could be a distraction, but it actually helps me to focus.

So that’s enough about mine, what are yours?


7 thoughts on “Every Writer Needs a Sanctuary – Where’s Yours?

  1. That is one thing I lack sorely. I write where ever I can. In the car on road trips. In bed. At my computer desk (where I do all my other work and internet surfing). At the kitchen table. On the floor in front of the TV. On the porch on a sunny day. But! I wish I had a dedicated spot. Just do not have the space.

    1. I have a Kindle Fire now and have installed Dropbox which I use to store my WIPs, and a good mobile office package on it. That should be more useful than using my sometimes cumbersome laptop too, making it easier to write on the go.

      Thanks for your feedback! I suspect your experience will be what most people do.

  2. I’m lucky enough to have an office in the house. It allows me to shut the door and focus on my writing (with the exception of the odd interruption if my children are home). It is nowhere near as tidy as your photograph.
    I used to write with a bluetooth keyboard linked to my iPad but stopped when I switched to Scrivener. If they ever get the Scrivener app up and running, I may well switch back again because I’d love to write in more varied locations.

  3. I used to take the train a lot, and I have to say I love writing while traveling. I’ve written some great stuff while on planes for the same no-internet reason you mentioned about your computer. There’s a local library that I frequent when I need some peace away from home, and our spare bedroom has an empty desk where I like to go sit too. I don’t have a “place” though–I write in bursts throughout the day, usually, so I’m moving around–but the mental “place” is more important for me.

    1. Thanks Sabina. Writing while travelling has made me see how large my laptop is too so when I upgrade my machine, I’ll go for something physically smaller while looking for something more powerful.

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