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Week 2 Creating the environment where we want to write

Where we decide to write is almost as important as when and what we write.

Many authors discuss where they feel the most productive in the links on the right. Are you sat at your home desk right now? In a cafe? Hot desking somewhere in work? Do you have an office or a space that is only for work? Do you need complete silence?

Lead a discussion around the environment that people find most conducive to productivity, some people feel happy to post their spaces others less so.

"There is no ideal writing environment. The ideal is the set of circumstances that allows you to be productive. If you’re happy with your own productivity, both in terms of quantity and quality of writing, then perhaps your routines and environment ought not be monkeyed with. But if you’re dissatisfied with your writing patterns, perhaps a set of experiments is in order. Try working in a new environment, different in nature from where you typically work." Nate Kreuter” in an article for Inside Higher EdLink opens in a new window 

Three key principles: get organized, avoid clutter, and develop healthy habits. Some specific suggestions for making the environment comfortable noted in Gaelen Foley's article are:

  • Lighting
  • Positioning
  • Tools at your desk
  • Methods for dealing with noise
  • Using smells to help trigger your creative state

Conrad Aiken worked at a refectory table in the dining room; Robert Graves wrote in a room furnished only with objects made by hand. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up; D. H. Lawrence under a tree. William Maxwell preferred "small messy rooms that don't look out on anything interesting." Katherine Anne Porter said she got her writing done in the country, where she lived like a hermit. Ben Franklin wrote in the bathtub, Jane Austen amid family life, Marcel Proust in the confines of his bed. Balzac ate an enormous meal at five in the evening, slept till midnight, then got up and wrote at a small desk in his room for sixteen hours straight, fueled by endless cups of coffee. Toni Morrison found refuge in a motel room when her children were small; E. B. White sought it in a cabin on the shore. Due to her problem back, Penelope Lively works in an armchair, with an "ancient electronic typewriter" on her lap, while A. L. Kennedy finds comfort in a "monster black chair" in a room "the color of blood."