Creating the Write Environment

Here are the parameters of my ideal writing environment. Any deviation results in severe under-productivity. In desperate circumstances I can of course make do, but below is the Platonic ideal of my writing situation.

The preferred setting: a Barnes and Noble cafe, near a wall

The second-best setting: any cafe (still near a wall)

The I’ll-take-what-I-can-get setting: library or kitchen (must be well-lit)

Writing implements: laptop, with notebook and pen on hand for emergencies that must be drawn out or diagrammed 

Music: NONE, or low-volume cafe ambiance music

Tools: a cup of tea, black, with sugar, best if in a mug, manageable if in a to-go cup

Clothes: comfortable, no jewelry to get distracted fiddling with

Writing program: Microsoft Word, background tinted a light mint green, 0, 10 pt line spacing set to at least at 1.15 pt, Times New Roman, 12 pt font

Other people: at least a seat in between us, preferably quite a bit of room, and not talking loudly near me, or I end up eavesdropping instead of writing

Things that throw off my groove: people’s music playing too loudly, people talking too loudly, being forced to sit at a table in the middle of the cafe, running out of tea, getting distracted texting (but that last one’s all me)

Until writing this list I didn’t quite realize how picky I am…

✴This has been a queued post, as I am currently in the Amazon with no Wifi.


What have you written this week? (Probably more than you think.)

Sometimes I have to remind myself that while I’m not writing as in working on my manuscript, I’m still writing as in practicing putting one word in front of the other. And honestly, it all adds up to experience. So while I’ve had no time to work on BOTD this week, here are some things that I’ve written since Monday.

  • A writing prompt about the Grim Reaper, a child protection services agent, and three hellions
  • An extensive outline and pages of notes for a paper dealing with science fiction and the Gaia Theory
  • A half-page summary of Cities, People, and Language by James C. Scott
  • Several powerpoint slides and a presentation outline of a paper on the effects of atmospheric CO2 on photosynthesis
  • A scholarship award acceptance blurb
  • A blurb about a club for practicing Kichwa
  • Countless emails
  • Detailed notes for a grassroots social justice organization meeting
  • A scrapped retelling of the myth of Icarus
  • Notes on several presentations/lectures by archaeoastronomer Dr. Anthony Aveni
  • Notes from 18 hours worth of classes
  • Several to-do lists per day
  • And 1 blog post (you’re reading it)

So if you feel like you’re not getting any writing done, as I frequently do, stop and take a look at how you’re evaluating ‘writing’. In the overall scheme of things, any practice is valid practice. Whether you mean to or not, you’re improving every time you stick two words together.