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?