Where, when and how I write tend to have a few constants, but never quite the same. I would like to share what type of environment makes me comfortable and productive. The environments I choose to place myself work for me and that is what is most important here. If you are looking to find an optimal writing enviroment for yourself, these specific tactics may or may not work for you.
My environmental traits for writing.
- Location. This trait will always be evolving. I tend to love new locations. Not too busy, but not too quiet. I like a little bit of background noise. Libraries never seem to work for me. Not enough going on. Much like white noise can help others sleep, it helps me write. Coffee shops, the living room while my room mates watch shows or play video games, and other locations that tend to have something going on in the room. I need it. Too quiet creeps me out. Too loud distracts me. Outside tends to be difficult if the sun is shining since I mainly use my computer. If I work at my desk at home I tend to have music playing.
- Sounds. Like I said above my location depends on the sounds they create. If it’s too quiet I add music. I tend to have a love hate relationship with headphones. I prefer nice studio monitors above all. That’s just me being picky as a musician that records. I listen to ambient music, post rock, soundtracks and metalcore. The styles I listen to always change through the year.
- Devices. My main writing tool is my macbook, but when I don’t have access to it, I do start drafts, jot down ideas and even sometimes do voice recordings into my iPhone. The writing process takes many forms and capturing ideas is still part of the process. I tend to do this while in waiting areas, in transport vehicles or while on a walk.
- Posture. For a while I was working from a standing desk when I was at home, but since I could not lower it, my posture began to kill me. Away from home I use my latop keyboard, but at home I use a magic mouse and full mac keyboard. This gives me much better posture for extended writing sessions.
- Duration. Per day it’s usually 30-60 minutes at a laptop, but I have had days where I write for 2-3 hours straight. In those cases I need to be much more aware of my posture and make sure I take breaks every 30 minutes or so. This allows me to remained focused and not let a sore back or tired wrists slow me down from writing consistently for too long.
- Beverage. Coffee. The good stuff too. Fuel for the old noggin. Great source of motivation and keeps me alert. I’ve gone to the extent of roasting my own coffee because I know what I like and I can roast a great bean and save a few bucks in the process. I also tend to have water with me too.
Discovering your optimal writing environment.
While these types of places and setting may work for me, it might be the worst place for you. It took me a little while to understand variables that help me focus. This is going to takes some trial and error if you are new to writing on a daily basis. Take notes on how much progress you make at specific places. When you find similar traits and techniques between environments that give you the most productivity use those to your advantage.
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