Note: Apologies for the delay this week. I had some personal business last weekend, and didn’t manage to finish this post beforehand. The NSG should be back on schedule next week, with a new installment on Monday.
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If you were to ask me what my ideal writing space looks like, I could tell you right off the bat. It’s someplace indoors, but by no means sterile or sealed off from the outside world. I need windows, and fresh air, and sunlight. And a cushy couch. And an electrical outlet. Very, very important. It’s also a space filled with sound. Sometimes, it’s carefully chosen music. Sometimes, it’s the soothing bustle of a cafe. Other times, it’s simply the sounds of life: my roommates typing away at their computers, or the dishes being washed in the kitchen. It’s also a space where I feel welcomed and physically safe. Where I can cross my legs and type on my lap, and no one would raise an eyebrow. And where fresh, good coffee is within easy reach.
I didn’t always know what sort of space I needed to write. Growing up, I thought there was only one sort of environment: a library. But during college, I learned that that isn’t the case. Through trial and error, and many an evening spent trying NOT to feel miserable, I learned that libraries, in fact, are my least favorite environments, and that I needed somewhere else to work.
How about you? What is your ideal writing space? If you don’t know, now’s a good time to figure it out. First, determine what sort of environment you work best in—loud, quiet, or somewhere in between—and stake out a place that best matches it. Do you need utter silence? Consider your local public library. Or using ear plugs. Need some background noise? Consider a cafe. Or simulate the sound of one. Do you need to be comfortable? Stay at home. And work out a system with those you live with so they know not to disturb you when you’re writing. (Unless, of course, the house is burning down. In which case, by all means be disturbed.) If you’re not sure what works best for you, give them all a shot! And do that now, when you have the time. Pay attention to how productive you are in each environment. Can you hear yourself think? Do you feel physically safe? Can you concentrate? Are you actually getting work done? Eventually, you’ll find the environment that’s right for you.