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Why Where You Write Affects How You Write

This morning, I was coaching a writer about her book-in-progress and we got to talking about the importance of where you write.

One of the luxuries of being a writer is that you can do it pretty much anywhere, but of course it follows that some places are far more conducive to creativity than others.

And what determines this is a very personal thing, unique to each writer.

One time, I tried to do that whole author-sets-up-camp-in-coffee-shop routine and I couldn’t think straight for the sound of babies crying and businessmen bellowing.

Instead of focusing on my supposed to be heart-warming work-in-progress I became fixated on which would make the most effective gob-stopper – a blueberry muffin or a pain au chocolat.

But other writers I know love that kind of background noise. It feeds their creativity rather than drives them to acts of gagging by cake.

My client this morning had been experiencing a few blocks with her writing then, one day last week, she decided to relocate from her study to her lounge.

‘I wanted to make the experience more nurturing,’ she explained. ‘So I snuggled under a duvet and lit some candles and started tapping away on the laptop.’

This instantly resonated with me.

Back in January of this year I had two books to write so I needed to drastically up my daily word count. But it was the middle of winter and the living room in the cottage I was in at the time was drafty and cold.

So, one day, I decided to write in my much cosier bedroom instead.

And so began one of the most pleasant periods of my writing life.

Every day I’d set my laptop on a pile of cushions, create myself a nest of pillows, light some scented candles and away I’d go.

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This new writing post on top of my bed also gave me a stunning view across the valley, which became a great source of inspiration.

I felt snug and secure and relaxed and I guess this freed me up because the words just flowed and flowed.

By the end of March the weather started warming and the world started stirring again.

My books were done and life – and I – moved on.

But the experience stayed with me.

I’ve since moved house and I have a great little work space at the breakfast bar in my kitchen – which happens to have a direct view through the living room to the high street outside. It’s a people-watching paradise.

But whenever I’m feeling blocked, or tired, or in need of a little nurturing, I relocate with my laptop to a pillow nest on my bed.

It works every time.

So, next time you sit down to write, ask yourself how you need to feel first.

Do you need to feel nurtured and snug or energised and business-like?

Do you need some soothing peace and quiet? Or do you need a background buzz to give you a lift?

Then pick a location that will inspire that feeling in you and watch the words flow…

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