Write Time, Write Place, Just Write

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work
will die without putting a word on paper.
— E.B. White

Rubber Ducky says Just WriteIf Goldilocks were a writer, she’d have starved.

As I sit down to write, I’m surrounded by more noise than air.

People stampeding out of the office for lunch and walking with gusto to their chosen eateries.

One gentleman’s footstep is as disproportionate to his physique as an elephant stomp is to an army ant. Seriously, my monitor shakes every time he walks by. Crazy-making? Oh. Yeah.

The offices below are undergoing widespread renovation, and I’m pretty sure that the offices upstairs are holding Celtic dance auditions. And the people who are auditioning suck at their craft.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think it was all a cosmic scheme to keep me from writing.

But I do know better. In fact, I know this fundamental truth.

There is no write place.

I know that home has its own set of auditory challenges. Cars, neighbors, lawn equipment. A Sweetie who occasionally has one of those this-will-never-be-quick questions regarding the unknown location of [insert lost kitchen utensil].

Hats off to those of you with children.

I also know that the local coffee house is no quieter. Boisterous conversation, espresso machines, bean grinders and that too-frequent patron who’ll look over your shoulder and — right next to your ear — ask “Whatcha doin’?”

Let’s see…I’ve got my ear buds in, I’ve built a fort out of the extra chairs , and if I focus any harder, I’ll become one with my laptop. Take a wild guess, Skippy?

There’s also not always a write time.

Right now, it’s the middle of a sunny Seattle day. I’ve eaten, charged my iPod and should be ready to scratch out something worthwhile.

Instead, my brain is both overloaded by the morning’s tasks and spasming through this afternoon’s To Do list.

Tonight I’ll be tired from putting in a full day of I-get-paid-for-this professional grade thinking. And after dinner, I’ll be more likely to go to bed than bond with my keyboard.

What’s that you say? Get up early? Tried that once. Came up with:

What the *beep* am I do up this early? This is such crap! There’s no *beep* way I can come up with anything good to say this *beep* early. I hate this *beep*. How productive am I supposed to tbe anyway? I’m no guru and I’mn never gopnna be either. Who do they think they are? Where do they get off telling em to drag my fat *beep* out ouf be this damn early. I swear, if I hear one more person tell me that gettingup is good for me, they can write this *beep* for me if they’r so *beep* good at it!!!!!!!!!

Clearly, 4:00 a.m. does not bring out the best in me. 

Perfect writing conditions are hard to come by. So stop waiting for the write time. Or the write place. Just write.

It’s that simple.

Okay, back to work.

If you had power over your writing environment, what would your ideal writing conditions be?

15 thoughts on “Write Time, Write Place, Just Write

  1. Back when I was young, I wrote in whatever snatches I could. I carried (and still carry) a small tablet in my purse. When my daughter was three, I bought a small used portable typewriter and put it on the floor next to my desk. So when I would be working to deadline, I would tell her, “Type fast, so we can earn some pizza” and she would happily sit there and type for hours on end.

    • Would that I’d thought of that when my babies were little! As it was, I put off writing until now – and now they’re grown, flown and have kids of their own.

    • I love that you’d have your daughter write alongside you. If someone can make that work, it would pay off a lot more in the long run than “not now, I’m busy.”

  2. If I’m driven enough, I can write with the kids around, but that’s very difficult. Because I use pen and paper, I’m good at a coffee shop. For some reason, not too many people question pen and paper, as opposed to if I had a computer. I get my most productive writing done at the local YMCA, where the boys are looked after for 2 hours. Um, but not in the morning. Those sweet Silver Sneaker seniors (say that 3 times fast) will sit down and even skip their scheduled work out just to chat with me. lol

    • “sweet Silver Sneaker seniors”…Ha! I love that. And yes, they do like to talk. And they’re so nice, too. I just love talking to older people (my own downfall).

      Good for you for writing when you can. You probably get more writing done than I do. 🙂

  3. I think I’d have to say that I’ve (mostly unconsciously) created my “ideal.” I take a couple legal pads and several pens with me wherever I go. When I’m home, I’m often in front of my computer. When it gets too late to be on the computer (gotta give the eyeballs a rest from all the pixels!), then I return to the legal pads and pens.

    • Good for you! Sounds like you’ve got a pretty solid system. I compose most of my writing on the computer but I do carry a small notebook in my purse almost everywhere I go.

  4. I absolutely laughed my way through this. My wife says you were feeling “saucey” (I read it to her). A good laugh always has value, but your post makes a good point too. Sometimes you have to overcome it all and just do it anyway. Thanks for the encouragement. I’m not sure what idea conditions would be…except that an occaional trip to an exotic island would be nice.

  5. Good advice, Erica. Just write.

    OK, you might not be in the mood or in the right surroundings for it. But, once you’ve got your teeth sunk in, within an hour or so you’ll be properly focused whatever the environment.

    • True true true. I’ve also found that if you focus on drowning out the surrounding noise, you also get more focused on what you’re doing because your trying to ignore the ambient annoyances. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes.

  6. What a funny post! Thanks for the chuckles.
    Many of us struggle with this and I’ve yet to find the “ideal” scenario. Tried many. Of course, my ideal conditions include a romantic view of my backyard which would involve my gutting the attic and blowing up my roof to put in a second floor…….so that’s my exuse ;P

    • Being the enabler that I am, I think that’s a perfectly valid excuse. 🙂

      I’d love a quiet day in my clean home with my plants blooming on the windowsill and a chipmunk in the outside tree. But then I’d stare at the chipmunk, so not sure that qualifies.

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