I rarely think about where I write. The question is usually when, or how, or if I will—”where” is an afterthought.
When I consider “where”, I find it’s a loaded word. “Where” denotes locations tangible and intangible. Is it my plastic Ikea desk or the solitary confines of my mind? Even if we limit “where” to the physical world, we’re still talking a broad range of answers, from a little piece of college ruled paper to the third planet from the Sun.
So, I’ll say I write on the planet Earth, usually North America, specifically the United States. I write from my couch, at my kitchen table, on my bed, the tiny table in our cluttered guest room/office, in coffee shops, at a rented desk in a co-working space.
I write in spiral bound notebooks, legal pads and journals. I only write on my laptop at the second or third draft. I realize this is uncommon for my generation. Most twenty-something’s write from first to last on a computer. It makes sense. We’ve been operating computers for the bulk of our lives. It’s only natural we should feel more comfortable with keypads and screens than pens and paper. I’m no exception.
I don’t write letters. I tweet, I post, I text, I blog. But when I write a story, I do it first on paper and always with a pen. I’ve tried writing the other way, laptop first. The results were disastrous. Writing longhand can be messy and sometimes wasteful, it’s true. Still, I write best when I’m forming the words under my fingers, scratching out the story, committing my ideas to ink where they are safe, if not from my inner critic, at least from the backspace key.
I write in a space I create for myself. My headspace, or, to borrow from Professor Butler*, the place where I dream. It’s my only consistent writing location, and it’s not always easy to find.
Not because my writing environment must be quiet (simply not distracting), or because I have to be alone (I like to be around people), and not because I have a special desk or a certain kind of chair. I don’t need anything like that. What I need, and what is so hard to achieve, is a focused, open mind; my interior monologue dialed down, the story front and center, the character’s voices filling my thoughts.
It’s a bit like falling asleep. Some people need complete darkness, total silence, a Breath Right® strip. Some people can sleep in the middle of a busy train station. I’m the latter. In sleep, as in writing, it doesn’t matter where I am. If I can find my own interior peace and quiet, the dreams will come.
Though it may be hard to pin-point, the question of “where” doesn’t worry me. Troubling questions are “Can I?” “Will I?” “When will I?” “How will I?” These are pervading questions; nagging, pushing, pulling, paralyzing. These are questions for another post.