Where Writing Happens

I have two chapters left, and then the second draft is finished.  It has taken forever, but I feel like the story is much stronger for the work that I’ve put into it.  Before I get into it tonight, I want to talk a little bit about where I do my writing, and how it relates to advice that I want to take from Stephen King.

The book I’m reading/listening to these days is On Writing by Stephen King.  It is much more interesting than I expected.  Actually, I’m not sure what I expected.  I’m enjoying it, and I’m finding his advice reassuring.

One thing he talks about is the writing space.  He advises that you choose a place that has a door that you can close.  When you close the door, you not only shut the world out, but you shut yourself in so that you can focus on the world you’re creating.  You stay in that place, focused, until you reach your word count.

I would love to take this advice, but I don’t have anywhere like this.  I have some space in the garage, but I can’t really close the door.  It’s not really a quiet place that I can go to get away from the world.  The world wanders in.  The washing machine and dryer rumble a few feet away from my computer.  It’s dark.  Too hot in the summer.  Too cold in the winter.  There are insects.  The world is very much present in my garage.

I wind up getting most of my writing done when I leave my house and go to someplace like Starbucks or Panera.  The world is around me, but most people keep to themselves.  There are worlds of silence in crowds of strangers.  Sometimes the music is too loud.  Sometimes there are friendly folks brave enough to cross barriers in order to make conversations.  Most of the time, however, people pretend that other people don’t exist.  They sip their drinks, their faces illuminated by the various screens they’ve brought with them.  Invisible social shields cloak us all, creating islands of isolation.

Maybe someday, I’ll have my own office at home.  That would be nice.  For now, I’m doing what I can.  I go out.  I buy a decaf coffee, my rent for the evening.  And I block out all of the distractions.

Speaking of distractions… time to get to work!  I’ve got a story to finish!