Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Guest Post: Location, location, location!

As you guys may recall, I'm in Portland right now on a noble apartment-hunting quest. However, I am kind! I did not leave you wandering the desert searching for a drink of water! Let's welcome Squidink's first guest blogger, Brenna from Writing and Reading!

Hello Blogites,

I’m going to talk to y’all about place today. Not as in setting, but as in where you write. It’s more important than you would think, especially when it comes to productivity.

I’m writing to you from a coffee shop. Yes, that’s right. I’m all stereotypically writerly like that. But I don’t write in a coffee shop just so people will see me being all authorly; I do it because it’s the best way for me to get things done. Doesn’t mean that’s the same for you, however.

It all comes down to distractions, and what you’re distracted by. See, I’m distracted by the familiar. If I try to write at home, I’ll be wandering into the kitchen, turning on the TV, finding laundry that needs to be put away, or all sorts of other things that would take me away from the task at hand: ie, writing.

When I’m at a coffee shop, however, I only really have what I take with me. I can’t pick up my sketchpad and be distracted unless I bring it with me. There isn’t a TV in my coffee shop, and I have coffee, which can keep me motivated. Sure every so often I can get distracted by eavesdropping on others, but that only fuels my understanding and ideas for dialog.

This may be completely opposite for you. Sarah, while able to write anywhere, is most productive at home where everything is familiar and thus not distracting. That’s okay. I had a friend during last NaNoWriMo who made herself a little writing nest at her desk where she had everything she could possibly need within an arm’s reach. That worked for her, but it would be hard on me.

No matter where you are, you need to make sure you’re in an environment where you can get the most out of your writing. We’ve all been there: when you’re so distracted that you can’t fully get into the zone, so everything turns out crappy and disjointed. That’s no fun, but it does happen, and your environment influences that.

It all boils down to distractions. Which ones tempt you the most? Where do you do the bulk of your writing? Can you write anywhere or do you have someplace special? Let me know!

Brenna has been a story maker-upper since she was very little and a writer since she was twelve. She is currently the city reporter for the Cody Enterprise in Cody, WY and trying to break into the publishing industry. You can stalk her at her blog, I Write and Read, or on Twitter as @brennabraaten.


Jackie said...

Great post! I've never really thought too deeply about whether or not location could influence the productivity of my writing. I mean, I know for a fact writing at my current home is completely out of the question. I can't go longer than 20 minutes without being interrupted by my boyfriend. "Schnookums. When are you going to sit down with me? When are you going to play this game with me? When will you pay attention to me?" I would like to one day have an entire room dedicated to it. I will claim the garage if I have to. And I will put alarms on it so my boyfriend can't sneak in. And I will sound proof it too!

Too far?
Eh, I find I'm most productive when I'm at school or work...when I have other important things to do. *headdesk* I don't think I could write in a coffee shop. There would be too many conversations going on that would be distracting. (oddly, a lecturing professor is not distracting)

Brenna Braaten said...

Ha! Yes! I totally agree! I won't be able to write very productively at home until I have an office where I can lock myself away in, so I know exactly how you feel. And I used to do a lot of writing when I was at school too. And I think it's because eavesdropping is much more exciting and generally doesn't deal with something you are being forced to learn that it's more distracting than lecturing. But, I generally put in my earphones and crank up the tunes. I'm not sure why this doesn't work at home, though. *sigh*

Kate Robertson said...

I like to write in cafe's too. It keeps me out of my art studio and its distractions. During Nano I have managed to work at a desk and focus on it at home. But I think that it was because of the deadline. Without a deadline I seem to work better at cafe's. I like the atmosphere and feel at home there. Maybe its all that history of authors writing in cafe's that appeals to me.

Brenna Braaten said...

I can understand that completely. When in NaNo, I can focus pretty much anywhere because I do have that deadline. I like the atmosphere of cafes too. And the coffee. Don't forget lots of coffee! The only downside for me is my coffee shop doesn't have much food choices, so I generally have to leave to eat something that's not all sugar. Oh well. Can't have it all, right?

Annbow said...

Sending Brenna greetings from Missoula! Struggling with Brit Lit and other classes but so proud of you girls. One piece of dirt: my superintendent story character is in more real trouble. A woman ( district business manager) died of a cocaine overdose in his house last Oct. The district has recently fired him although no criminal charges were fired. Google: Larry Johnson, School Superintendent, Darrington, WA. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Amen. Ann Bodle-Nash, who is reveling in the velvet softness of a new granddaughter. Sigh.

Brenna Braaten said...

Hello Ann! Wow. I can't believe that actually happened. That's really weird. Sometimes it's true and seems so much like fiction. But, there you go. The world is weird. How is the new granddaughter? That's fantastic? What's her name? How old?

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