Why is where you write so important? It’s because your physical location affects your mental state. Your location establishes the atmosphere in which your work is done -- an atmosphere that either helps your writing process or hinders you.
The right place may be quite different for you and a co-worker. Some people need quiet when they write. Some need music or another kind of sound. Some need isolation while others write best surrounded by people.
You may need to experiment to find what works best for you. Since most of us have to write sometimes for our jobs, figuring out your most conducive writing location makes sense. Think about what works for you and identify some possible locations before a writing project is staring you in the face. You’ll save time and wind up with a better end product.
Tell your boss what you’re doing and why. When you come back with a stellar piece of writing, he or she will know it was a good investment of time and trust.
Of course, before you start any writing project you’ll do your prep work:
- Confirm the basics like deadlines, objectives, messages and other expectations
- Understand your audience
- Pull together resource material and maybe create an outline
- Put writing time on your calendar
How do you like to write? Think about it and get yourself prepared.
- By hand? Typewriter? If you like these methods be sure you have the paper, ribbons, pens/pencils and correction fluid you need.
- Laptop or tablet? You’ll want access to digitally-stored resource materials and the Internet (for last minute searches). At some point you’ll need access to a printer.
If you’re a computer writer with only a desktop system, you’re likely tied to your work space for writing. Take measures to set the right atmosphere:
- Close the door if you have one, or hang a “Do not disturb” sign
- Turn off your cell phone
- Silence your landline
- Play music if this helps (Earphones can keep music from bothering co-workers.)
- Some folks buy flowers or spray air freshener
- Clear off your desk, close the blinds, do whatever you need to make your setting conducive
Find your place
With a laptop or tablet (or pen and paper) you’re free to move around. That’s good since a change of environment can stimulate thinking.
Here are possibilities that could work:
- Conference rooms – Chances are a conference room will be quieter and less interruption-prone than your office or cubicle. Can you reserve one?
- Reception area – Can you work there and not get in trouble?
- Break room, lunch room, cafeteria – These are noisy and busy at peak times but might offer a good change of scene in off hours.
- Building common spaces – Some buildings have seating in random areas and even conference rooms you can use.
- Parks – Some people write better in the great outdoors. If you’re one of them, look for places close to your office or home.
- Coffee shops – These can be noisy but maybe that works for you. If so, look for ones that are convenient but not likely to be frequented by people you know.
- Libraries – These are definitely quiet and are good spots for those who work best with no noise. Check out convenient ones and note the seating options. Many have both casual seating (couches and armchairs) as well as chairs and work tables.
- Home – This works well for some but can be full of distractions. (I work at home and find it takes discipline to stay on task. It’s so tempting to wander into the kitchen or turn on the TV!) Where at home will you work? Is there a desk or table to use or are you better working on your couch or favorite chair? Will you be free of pets, kids and other distractions?
Once you start looking around you may think of other possibilities – a vacant office, a patio, alounge. Every business has its own places to consider. When you’re scoping out locations look for electrical outlets. If there’s no power available, you’ll be limited by your battery life.
For times when the writing is beyond you, call in a pro, a freelance writer like me.