What does your environment look like? And does that make a difference?

I think it does.  Some writers need complete silence, some need coffee houses, music and the sound of the espresso machine (which for me brings back happy memories of mornings in Italy)

I think those of us who like sound, either music or the TV in the back ground or a café, or a noisy library (college, the library is always noisy) Is that they distract our left brain, so our right brain can roam freely and deliver weird stuff to the page.

What kind of environment is perfect for your creativity to just flow? Do you need to be alone?  Do you write at the kitchen table in the middle of interruptions?  Have you even considered it?

JK Rowlings purportedly wrote in coffee houses because they were heated and her house was not.

Jane Austen wrote in the parlor and cleverly hid her work whenever anyone walked in, I’m sure to postponed the inevitable question, “oh, are you writing about me?”  I would not want Jane Austen to write about me.

Stephen king writes under the stairs.

Edith Wharton wrote in bed, dropping the finished pages to the floor for her assistant to gather up and type them up. (It was good to be Edith).

What kinds of things surround you for inspiration?

After years of modifications, I finally have the perfect  writing studio at my home in Sonoma County.

The room has three windows that at first overlooked a marvelous sagging chicken coop, but now overlooks the second floor of seven new homes.

I have a broad wood desk with just enough drawers.  A collection of inspiration books gather to the left and an odd metal construction my son made in college sits to the right. On the metal figure I pin current inspirational postcards and the Virginia Woolf finger puppet  I received as gift when I earned my MA in creative writing.

At the base of my lovely monster monitor sit rocks and small items gathered from my travels, including a dragon from Vietnam and a Faberge egg from Moscow.

I have my pens in a mug from Paris, the mug doubles as the mic stand for during my pod casts.

I noticed all this because in my new house, my writing space is completely bare, and I realized that empty, clean white space is not inspirational.

So I raided my office in Sonoma County to bring up to Nevada County.

I took a bulletin board, striped it of things that no longer inspired (like those plastic mardi gras beads. precious at the time, not so much a month later).

I have two boxes of postcards and inspirational cards of art and travel that I hunted through to find the perfect pictures for the bulletin board.

I found my Dark Wing Duck figurine in the drawer; I took one of my Xena action figures as well.

The conclusion, for me, is that I need to surround myself with an environment of my own creation.  Just the computer and a desk do not inspire.  Even Starbucks is decorated.

What works for you?

We will discuss this very subject on our Newbie Writer’s Podcast this Friday at 3:30 PST  Check out the live stream and discussion at NewbieWriters.com

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  • Ciara Ballintyne
    Posted on June 19, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Most of my writing is done on the train. It’s cramped, it lacks elbow room, and it can be quite noisy, but it does benefit from a lack of distractions – no husband, no child, and no internet connection! It can be quite productive.

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