Writing Indoors: A Test of Isolation or Socialization?

This one is more my style.  I’m definitely more of an indoors author than an outdoors one, which is my choice.  Specifically, I prefer to write at home.  Here is where I have full control over my surroundings and I can be comfortable with what i’m doing.  There’s no lack of privacy or a sense that I’m being watched.  That isn’t to say I haven’t tried to write elsewhere, but I have more luck at home.  Again, that’s just me, so this might be fairly skewed.

One of the biggest suggestions people have given me is to go to the library or a coffee house to write.  I see this being done all the time and have tried it myself.  First, I’m not a coffee drinker, so I can’t rationalize being in a Starbucks.  I’d be tossed out before I make any progress, especially since I really don’t understand the sizes.  Don’t even try to explain them to me please.  This means the library would be a better choice, but it comes with its own dangers.  Here they are from my own experience:

  • You need to find a place with an outlet if using a laptop.
  • You need to find any place to work, which is tough if you don’t get there early.
  • Not allowed to have a drink or snack unless you leave.  Have to pack up your stuff too.  No guarantee your spot will remain.
  • Having to go to the bathroom is effectively an end to working. I’ve never had a spot remain after that run.
  • Same goes for needing lunch, which is a bigger finale.
  • Once somebody notices you’re writing a book, there’s a likely chance that they will come over to either talk or watch.  I don’t know how I kept finding these people, but it turned me off to the library idea.

Now, one could also work during lunch breaks at work.  At least in theory because it depends on where you work.  I had a free period that I would do a little notebook work while in the faculty room.  Unfortunately, I wouldn’t get far because I’d also have to check emails and make sure I’m set for the day.  There were also conversations going on that I would either actively get involved in or listen to because it was interesting.  Not eavesdropping if the talkers are spread across the room and anybody is allowed to interject information.  So, these times quickly became socializing, which isn’t a problem.  It means I don’t do writing, but I’m not the quiet anti-social guy in the corner.  That didn’t benefit me in high school when I was a student, so it wouldn’t do any better as a TA.

This leaves me with working at home, which counters a lot of the problems.  I can hit the bathroom, get a snack, and break for lunch without losing my desk.  I can play my music without needing headphones or put on the TV.  So much easier to wander around my room thinking through a plot snag than if I was in public.  People look at you funny when you talk to yourself.  My family is practically used to it.  I guess with that, I still have some distractions like the phone and family time.  Both are necessaries parts of life and I found that they could find me at the library too.  Seriously, family and friends will track you down if they really want you.  Still, I do enjoy the freedom of working indoors at home more than the other options.

Of course, I can see how outdoor lovers will prefer their methods.  Staying indoors isn’t healthy because you aren’t active and not getting fresh hair.  Can’t open the windows during bad weather or when it’s cold.  Thanks to the oak tree outside, I can’t do it during allergy season either.  That pollen flinging bastard gets me every year too.  Yeah, I’m talking to you!  *shakes fist out window*  Anyway, an indoor author does need to go out of their way to fit in outdoor time.  You’re not killing two birds with one stone, so you can find that you have less time to work on your books.  That isn’t to say that you can’t do something though.  When you hit a really bad plot snag, you can take a walk or jump on a piece of exercise equipment to think it through.  Section off your day for writing, family, and outdoor time as long as the weather permits.  Maybe you check the predictions for the week, so you can choose the worse days for writing and the nice ones to wander out of the home to be human.  It’s really up to you.

So, are you mostly an indoor author?  Is it at home or in public spaces?  Do you have any quirks or comforts that you need for your work spot?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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29 Responses to Writing Indoors: A Test of Isolation or Socialization?

  1. Tryep says:

    I’ve tried writing in different locations, but I prefer to work at home. I recently bought a desk and have found that writing on a desk is much nicer than writing on my bed, (which is where I used to write my papers in college). So writing at home for me is the preferable thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. L. Marie says:

    It’s like you said: it’s really up to you. I have a friend who has trouble writing at home. She prefers to be at a coffee shop because she loves having people around. I prefer to write at home in silence, because I’m distracted by people and can’t get anything done. I’ve tried working at the library and at a coffee shop. I barely got anything done.


    • I have the same problem with being outside the house and trying to write. People who don’t write are always telling me to go out and write to get away from the house distractions. I explain why I don’t feel comfortable and they shrug that off as me being difficult. Really makes me feel like non-writers don’t even try to understand the mind of writers.

      Liked by 2 people

      • L. Marie says:

        I hear you! Writing takes a lot of thought work. It’s hard to do that with people constantly moving around and talking. My library has a coffee shop now. So people sit at the library and talk like they would at a Starbucks. It’s no longer a quiet environment. So unless I lack internet at home, the library is the last place I would go to work. Seems so ironic to say that. But at my library, people gab on the phone and do whatever they want. Very distracting.

        Some people can write in that kind of environment with no problem. Not me.


      • Every writer has their own quirks and comforts. 😁 Coffee shops are the worst for me. I only tried once and I was out of there fast. Too much noise and people stare at you if you aren’t getting a lot to eat or drink.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Elle Knowles says:

    At home. Indoors. Preferably when my retired husband is off somewhere. He interrupts. 😂 Too many distractions everywhere else. Glad to meet another non-coffee drinker. Starbucks does have good iced tea and blueberry scones.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. missimontana says:

    Even before the pandemic, I wrote at home. Libraries are not like they were when I was a child; people tiptoeing, whispering, and librarians going “Shhhhh!” Now it’s screaming kids, cell phone gabbers, and families fighting over which movie to check out. And the privacy rooms? They just make the sounds echo even more, plus there is a time limit on some of them. It’s no better than a coffee shop or any other public place. Home is where the control is, and you can even work in your pajama’s if you want to. I have health issues, and need to take frequent breaks. Home will always be my best writing spot.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have always written at home. Like you say, eats, drinks, music, the potty are all available. I have on occasion gone to the back porch but this time of year at 100 degrees makes it impossible. The only other place I get things done is when I have an infusion every six weeks. It takes three hours so I get in some really quality time while there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I definitely do all of my writing at home for all of the reasons you wrote about and a few more. I will read anywhere and most places if it is not rude to do such. I do write ideas and snippets on my One Note phone.


  7. Pingback: Writing Indoors: A Test of Isolation or Socialization? — Legends of Windemere | When Angels Fly

  8. I do 99% of my work at home. I prefer silence for writing time. Those rare times in the national forest are great, but they’re more like a treat than anything I seek out.


    • I need some noise, but only music. It’s all about controlling the noise for me. People coming up to talk to me in the middle of writing drives me crazy. It’s why I hate working in the dining room.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I couldn’t handle that either. Not antisocial, just need to concentrate. Give me a quiet hour, then I’ll participate in whatever they want.


      • It’s funny. I’m trying to get some work done right now, but I have to work at the dining room table if my son needs me. So far, I have been approached about a birthday party, dinner, a tent, and the weekend. All in the span of 5 minutes.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this insightful and timely post from Charles Yallowitz titled: Writing Indoors: A Test of Isolation or Socialization?


  10. Before the COVIDity set in, I traveled around the US 45 weeks per year and learned to write in hotel rooms, on airplanes, on trains and sitting around at airports. Now that I’ve been home, there are a lot of distractions and I’ve had to retrain myself to write and avoid them. I’ve pared my computer down to one monitor and have set designated time to write. It’s been a struggle. The writing helped me combat my loathing of all that travel. I enjoy being home.


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